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What are some of the goals of a job interview?. to get a job to figure out if a position is right for you to provide potential employers with a stronger sense of why they should hire you, your skills, how you stand out

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what are some of the goals of a job interview
What are some of the goals of a job interview?
  • to get a job
  • to figure out if a position is right for you
  • to provide potential employers with a stronger sense of why they should hire you, your skills, how you stand out
  • to provide further articulation and illustration of the skills listed and experiences provided in your resume
some goals of a job interview
Some Goals of a Job Interview
  • Employer evaluates candidate
    • skills applicable to the job
    • competence to do the job
    • potential to contribute to the team/organization
    • ability to mesh with team’s/organization’s mission, philosophy, and environment
  • Candidate evaluates employer
    • match between interests and job tasks/work
    • degree of responsibility and challenge
    • potential for growth and further education
    • ability to mesh with team’s/organization’s mission, philosophy, and environment
how can you best prepare for a job interview
How can you best prepare for a job interview?
  • dress appropriately  depends upon business; “dress for the job you want”; better to overdress
  • back up documents; e.g., writing samples, copy of resume, transcripts, other docs, references; letters of recommendation (dossier or portfolio)
  • research the company google the company, talk to people about what they know, BBB, Chamber of Commerce
  • make sure you know how to get there
four keys to success
Four Keys to Success
  • understanding what to expect
  • preparing and researching
  • anticipating questions
  • following up
understanding what to expect
Understanding What to Expect

Types of Interviews

  • conversational
  • behavioral
  • case or situational
  • stress situation

all four of these interview types can be one-on-one or might be a panel conversation


Types of Interviews: Conversational (Traditional)

  • typically a question-and-answer discussion
  • usually a relatively short interview (e.g., 1 hour)
  • interviewer’s main goals are to:
    • assess whether or not the job-seeker has the skills and abilities to perform the job
    • evaluate whether or not the job-seeker possesses the enthusiasm and work ethic that the employer expects
    • analyze whether or not the job-seeker is a team player and will fit into the organization

Types of Interviews: Behavioral

  • typically an assessment of past performance
  • interviewers will expect to hear about specific situations and/or scenarios
  • initial questions are typically followed by follow-up questions
  • specific, key details related to situations/scenarios are expected
  • interviewer’s main goals are to:
    • assess candidate’s behaviors and approaches by exploring specific situations
    • analyze past behavior to try to predict future performance

Types of Interviews: Case or Situational

  • primarily used by management and consulting firms to determine how well a candidate fits in a field or job
  • typically interviewee is provided a problem or a scenario and asked to work through it
  • interviewer’s main goals are to:
    • analyze how well interviewee can identify and work through a problem
    • assess problem-solving skills
    • evaluate tolerance for ambiguity and ability to start on tasks
    • analyze communication skills

Types of Interviews: Stress Situation

  • typically used for jobs where high degrees of stress will be encountered regularly
  • interviewers sometimes rely upon rudeness, sarcasm, or outright hostility to provoke a response
  • interviewer’s main goals are to:
    • assess how well interviewee deals with unexpected and/or stressful situations
    • evaluate how well interviewee can work and communicate under pressure
preparing and researching
Preparing and Researching
  • research the field
  • research the employer
  • research the job, team, and context

Preparing and Researching

Research the Field

  • explore different branches
  • review trade journals/magazines
  • assess various career paths
  • know the major players
  • be familiar with current trends
  • goals are to:
    • be informed about who you are professionally (and what professional community you are entering)
    • be able to talk widely and wisely about trends, techniques, and tasks performed by professionals within different facets of your field

Preparing and Researching

Research the Employer

  • review annual reports
  • read the organization’s mission statement and philosophy documents
  • research the organization history
  • familiarize yourself with the organizational scheme
  • look for recent performance markers or success indicators
  • goals are to:
    • familiarize yourself with what the organization does
    • familiarize yourself with what workers in the organization do, write, produce, create, etc.
    • assess how the particular job for which you’re interviewing fits into the bigger organizational picture
    • get a sense of the key players in and key outcomes of the organization
    • develop a strong sense of what they might seek in an employee

Preparing and Researching

Research the Job, Team, and Context

  • review the original job post/call
  • research the “jobs” or “employment” area of the organization’s web site
  • make contact and try to get a stronger sense of the specific job responsibilities
  • analyze your possible role in relation to the team, unit, or division you would work in
  • find out who you would report to
  • analyze how success is evaluated and rewarded
goals are to:
    • answer the questions you should be asking yourself (e.g., is this really a job I want? what will I gain by getting this job? what do I bring that this organization needs?
    • become knowledgeable so that you can speak specifically as to how you fit in the job, team, and context
    • have a strong sense of what you will be expected to perform, and how that performance will be measured and evaluated
    • address questions like:
      • what might I be asked to answer?
      • how will they expect me to answer?
      • how might I be expected to demonstrate what I know and what I can do?
before the interview
Before the Interview
  • sleep
  • eat
  • choose your clothes the night before
  • prepare the materials you want to bring with you—ideally, this is done long before the interview
what types of materials would you want to bring to a job interview
What types of materials would you want to bring to a job interview?
  • Letter of Introduction
  • Resume
  • Work Samples
  • References
  • Letter of Recommendations
getting introduced
Getting Introduced
  • prepare and practice a two-minute introduction: “I am… I am interested in…”
  • prepare to
    • demonstrate knowledge about the employer
    • express enthusiasm and interest
    • relate your background to the company’s needs
anticipating questions
Anticipating Questions
  • “Tell me about yourself.”

Hint: They’re not asking for your life story, and it’s not a trick question…

  • interviewer is looking for:
    • a brief statement of your professional status and career objective
    • some detail about your progression to this point
a heuristic for answering questions
A Heuristic for Answering Questions
  • identify the skill sought by the question so that you can best focus your answer
  • give a STAR answer:
    • Situation—what was the context?
    • Task—what was the specific problem or need?
    • Action—what did you do? (produce, write, create, etc.)
    • Results/resolution—what did you learn? what skills did you develop?
star example
STAR Example

Can you tell me about a time from your work experience when your manager or supervisor was unavailable and a problem arose?

  • Situation
    • quickly explain the situation—what happened? who was involved (e.g., clients, coworkers, customers)?
  • Task
    • what was the particular problem that needed to be resolved?
  • Action
    • what specific action did you take to resolve the problem? what did you do or produce?
  • Results/resolution
    • what were the results of your action? what did you take from this experience?
at the end of the interview
At the End of the Interview
  • review what you’ve heard and state why you’re interested in the position
  • consider asking:
    • is there anything else I can provide—specific references or example materials?
    • what’s the next step in the process? when is your decision date?
    • how can I contact you to check my status?
after the interview
After the Interview
  • send a thank you email or letter after being interviewed
  • tailor the letter to the organization and to the interview itself
  • individualize a letter slightly if you’re sending it to more than one person in the organization
  • send it within 24–48 hours of the interview
  • goals:
    • shows you’re courteous
    • differentiates you from other candidates and keeps your name in front of the potential employer
    • proves that you’re interested in the job
10 interview bloopers
10 Interview Bloopers
  • poor handshake (limp hand, tips of fingers, arm pump)
  • talking too much (talking too long, but not answering direct questions; nervous talking)
  • talking negatively about current or past teams, coworkers, employers/managers
  • showing up late or way too early
  • treating the receptionist rudely
asking about benefits, vacation time, or salary in an initial interview
  • not preparing for the interview
  • verbal ticks (uhmmmm, like, you know)
  • not enough/too much eye contact
  • failure to match communication styles (e.g., too informal, too businesslike)


  • be yourself (not who you think they want you to be)
  • be ready to talk about why you want the job (and think about how they might respond to your answer)
  • ask ahead of time the format of the interview (e.g., panel/one-on one? expected to perform a task?)
  • ask about the function of your job in the larger organization
  • ask about how the specific position you are interviewing for fits in the larger unit/team/department and within the larger
  • be prepared to actually do/perform/write a task during the interview process (e.g., writing documentation, marking up a document for editing)
  • ask the interview what their favorite aspect of the job is (and, perhaps, what their least favorite is)
  • find out how writing is perceived and how people negotiate textual ownership issues
carefully consider who you ask which questions
  • take notes with you (with your ideas, goals, questions); take notes during the interview
  • learning opportunities and experiences not, never “problems”
  • ask if the organization has a policy toward funding/supporting employee professional development opportunities (e.g., STC membership and conferences, further education)
  • stay focused (even if it’s a long interview); take notes to help stay focused
  • get comfortable with pauses and strategies for giving yourself a bit of time to prepare an answer
  • stay upbeat! (there will be painful moments—learn from them and move on)
  • don’t get flustered (if you can at all avoid it—and practicing really, really helps)
  • recognize the gatekeepers! (e.g., initial phone interview with seemingly unrelated person)
  • draw upon good sources of info: Business Library resources (e.g., looking up companies, looking up company news, requesting annual reports); (info section on latest resume advice/ideas/formats, info on job positions and requirements)
know that there are things beyond your control that will affect the interview, interview situation, and what happens afterwards… (e.g., funding cut for a position; in-group dynamics; turf battles; already have a person chosen for the position but, legally, have to openly search and interview)
job interviewing power point credits
Job Interviewing Power Point Credits

this presentation originally written by Kelly Bishop

modified 9/19/2007 by Bob Reedy