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The Interview. Getting the job you want. These things actually happened. A woman brought her large dog to the interview A man interrupted the interview to phone his therapist for advice on how to answer one of the questions

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the interview

The Interview

Getting the job youwant

these things actually happened
These things actually happened
  • A woman brought her large dog to the interview
  • A man interrupted the interview to phone his therapist for advice on how to answer one of the questions
  • A man pulled out a camera and took a picture of the interviewer. Said he collected photos of everyone who interviewed him
  • Impress upon you the importance of preparation and practice
  • Give you some important information and suggest some strategies to give you an edge
  • Identify resources for you to use


100+ Resumes


When you reach the interview stage of your job search, you are one step away from a job offer.





Maybe 5 people interviewed

People usually underestimate how much preparation and practice it takes to have a really great interview.

The Job Offer

they are interested in 2 things
They are interested in 2 things

√ Can and will you do the job (do you have the required experience and competencies)

√ Will you fit in

the key principle
The key principle
  • As soon as they are convinced that you can do the job, the degree to which the interviewer feels comfortable with you is probably the single most important determinant of your acceptability as a candidate.
six ways to make people like you
Six ways to make people like you
  • Become genuinely interested
  • Smile
  • Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  • Be a good listener; encourage others to talk about themselves
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
  • Make the other person feel important—do it sincerely

There may be more than one round of interviews. The first interview could be a phone interview intended to narrow the field of candidates.

  • The industry
  • The company
  • The job
  • Inventory your own talents, skills, and accomplishments
sources of information for the industry and company
Sources of information for the industry and company
  • On-line data bases through our library website
  • The organization’s own literature and website
know the job
Know the job

…a specific skill necessary to do a job

What’s a competency?

examples of competencies
Examples of competencies
  • Initiative
  • Customer Service
  • Impact and Influence
  • Integrity
  • Communication
  • Analytical Thinking
the ten most standard competencies macro skills used by organizations
The ten most standard competencies (macro skills) used by organizations
  • Achievement/Results Orientation
  • Initiative
  • Impact and Influence
  • Customer Service Orientation
  • Interpersonal Understanding
  • Organizational Awareness
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Conceptual Thinking
  • Information Seeking
  • Integrity
determine the competencies
Determine the competencies
  • Carefully review the job description
  • Read other companies job descriptions for the same position
  • Google: position name competencies

(project manager competencies)

interview people who are already doing this job
Interview people who are already doing this job
  • How did they get into this work?
  • What do they like best?
  • What do they like least?
  • What are the key tasks/responsibilities?
  • What are the key skills (competencies) needed to be successful?
  • What were their interviews like?
  • Can they recommend someone else with whom you could speak?
think out of the box
Think out of the box
  • Not just jobs
  • Class projects
  • Co-curricular leadership roles
  • Volunteer experiences
  • Personal life experiences
competency worksheet
Competency Worksheet


  • Customer Service
  • Initiative
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving


On this side, you should come up with as many examples and situations where you demonstrated each of the competencies you have determined are essential to doing the job well

develop your talking points
Develop your talking points

What they’re looking for:

● 3 years management/supervisory


● Experience working in non-profit organizations

● Proven ability to fund raise

● Involvement with the Austin community

What you bring:

Questions ???
  • The most important ones are

the ones you ask them.

<career change job

interview questions>

behavioral questions the cornerstone of competency based interviewing
Behavioral questions: the cornerstone of competency based interviewing
  • These are questions designed to draw out how you are likely to respond to situations once you are on the job, i.e. do you have the requisite competency

“Tell meabout a time when…”; “Whatwould you do if…”

successful behavioral answer star
Successful Behavioral Answer= STAR
  • S/T- Situation and/or Task (paint a picture for the interviewer)
  • A- Action (what did you actually do)
  • R- Result (what was the outcome

of your actions)

► Tell me about a time when you demonstrated superior customer service skills?

► Can you give me an example of your problem solving skills?

here s an example
Here’s an example…

Interviewer: Can you tell me about a time when you exhibited superior customer service skills?

You: I can remember a time when I was working in a restaurant and when I came to work, I realized that our heater had gone out during the night. I called the repair people and provided all of the customers free hot drinks until we had the repairs made. I received a letter of commendation from the owner of the restaurant. He mentioned that some of the customers had told him what action I had taken.

possible topics
Possible topics
  • Teamwork
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Career Goals
  • Salary
  • Stress
  • Anger
  • Leadership
  • Ethics
  • Project Management
  • Creativity
  • Specific skills

Your goal: to try to take charge of the interview

**If you are being interviewed by an individual who is well trained in competency based interviewing, you may not be able to do this. In that event, just focus on answering the questions

ask open ended questions
Ask open ended questions
  • On what basis will you be making your decision?
  • Could you talk a little bit about what it will take to be successful in this position?
  • What are the key responsibilities of this position?
  • What’s the most important things I can do in the first 90 days?
  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
asking questions does 3 things
Asking questions does 3 things:
  • Demonstrates your interest
  • Helps create a bond with the interviewer
  • Dissipates your anxiety; you feel more “in control”
a suggestion

A suggestion

Tack your first question on to the end of your first answer.

the first question
The first question
  • Tell me about yourself?


  • They don’t want your life story.
  • Prepare a tight, well-rehearsed two minute commercial about why you are the right person for the job.
  • Your response to this first question will set the tone for the entire interview.
  • Finish your response with a question for them

developing your 90 second two minute pitch
Developing your 90 second-two minute pitch
  • What is the most important thing you want them to know about you?
  • What is the second most important thing I want them to know about me?
  • What are the key selling points/accomplishments that prove the first two statements?
  • What separates you from the competition?
  • What are some other selling points?
  • What objections might they have and how are you going to overcome them?
try this
Try this
  • Them: Tell me about yourself
  • You: Answer and pause at the end and ask, “From your experience, what are the two or three most important things you’re looking for in the ideal candidate”
  • Them: Someone with A, B, and C
  • You: “Interesting. Those are all areas I regard as strengths. Could I take a minute or two and tell you about myself in regard to those things?”
a portfolio
A Portfolio ?
  • A kind of show and tell about the things you’ve done relevant to the position: certificates, samples of your writing, brochures you developed, formal letters of commendation, notes thanking you for something you did, etc…
  • Done in a quality manner
  • Use it during the interview and/or leave it behind when you leave
  • Reduces your nervousness
possible portfolio items
Possible portfolio items
  • List of patents
  • Writing samples
  • List of publications
  • Hierarchical charts
  • Training certificates
  • MS Project spreadsheets
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Detailed project descriptions
  • Performance appraisal excerpts
  • Examples of best work performed
  • Graphs or charts documenting success
  • Awards and certificates of achievement
  • Commendations by customers or direct reports
some questions not to ask
Some questions NOT to ask
  • Now what is it that your company does?
  • What are your psychiatric benefits?
  • What do you consider as excessive absences?
not good negotiating ploys actually used
Not good negotiating ploys (actually used)
  • “I’ve been trying to earn six figures all my life.”
  • “I need to pay for my child’s private schooling.”
  • “My wife is now earning more than me.”
do your homework rule 1
Do your homework (Rule #1)
  • Know what is fair and reasonable for someone with your background, experience, and education.
  • Know what your minimum is, i.e. what’s the least

you’ll accept.

know your own value rule 2
Know your own value (Rule #2)
  • Be sure you can articulate why they should pay you more
  • Can you provide quantified reasons why you’re worth more than they are offering?
postpone the discussion rule 3
Postpone the discussion (Rule #3)

Postpone any discussion of salary until you have an offer. If they ask you “What kind of salaryare you looking for?”, stall them:

“Salary is important to me, but not the mostimportant thing. If we both think that this job is a good fit , I’m sure salary won’t be an issue. Could we talk a little more about my qualifications and then come back to the salaryquestion?”

if they press you
If they press you

Smile, and say something like:

“I would like to know a little bit more about theposition and the responsibilities in order to giveyou an honest answer. May I ask you how you woulddefine ‘success’ for this position?”

if they still insist
If they still insist

Simply say,

“ I’m only looking for something that is‘competitive’ for someone with my backgroundand experience. Have you established a range for this position?”

Of course they have, and they will probably tell you what it is

and then
And then…
  • If the amount is in your range, take the top of their range and make it the bottom of your range and say, “That’s very close to what I was looking for. I was looking for something in the $40-45,000 dollar range.” OR
  • If the amount is in your range, look them in the eye and repeat the top of the range and then shut up. Don’t say a word. Silence is one of the most powerful negotiating tactics.
another one of their tricks
Another one of their tricks

Sometimes the interviewer will ask you what your current salary is. Say something like:

“I’m currently making in the mid thirties, but I’m really looking for something that is more challenging with more responsibilities. That’s what attracted me to this position. I feel that I’m more than ready for a job like this and know I can make a difference. Have you established a range for this position?”


“My past position is very different from this one in so many ways. It would be like apples to oranges. I’m attracted to this position because it has so many more challenges and responsibilities. Have you established a range for this position?”

If you are still far apart, try to change the job description and identify new responsibilities that would justify a higher salary.
other possible compensation
Other possible compensation
  • Relocation expenses
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Additional vacation or personal time
  • Bonuses
  • Memberships
  • Severance package
  • Insurance
  • Keep all of these discussions cordial-- not adversarial
  • They want you; at this stage, they don’t want their second choice or have to re-open the search
  • Bulls win
  • Bears win
  • Pigs lose
here s something to try
Here’s something to try

If you are convinced that they really can’t go any higher on the starting salary and you really want the job, say something like:

“I really want this position and I know that you will be more than satisfied with my performance. The only thing that causes me any hesitation in accepting is that I was looking for slightly more in a starting salary. Could we agree on a set of goals to be accomplished in the first six months, and if they are reached, my salary would be raised to $XXXXX?”


In the end,

  • What you want should be reasonable and based on your research
  • Try to fill the gap between their offer and the number you want
  • Talk about differences in terms of monthly salary
  • Think about compensation in broader terms than just starting salary
  • Interviewing and Salary Negotiation by Kate Wendleton
  • How To Make a $1000 a Minute by Jack Chapman


not quite that bluntly though
Not quite that bluntly, though
  • Say something like:
  • “I’ll be looking forward to your decision, and, hopefully seeing you again” OR
  • “I would love to be part of your team. When should I hear from you?” OR
  • “I’m excited about the possibility of working for you, and I know I can make a difference. Are you at a point yet where you could offer me the job?
the assessment center interview
The Assessment Center Interview
  • The Center is a process, not a place
  • It’s a type of interview that really tries to see how you would actually perform in typical situations that would come up in the role for which you are applying
  • Much more stressful; hard to prepare for
  • Panel of experts evaluating your performance
  • Increasingly being used for positions such as Department Head, Manager, or Director; rarely, if ever, used for entry level positions
  • You’ll know in advance that this is the type of interview that will be used
here s what a day might look like
Here’s what a day might look like:
  • 9:00am-9:15am Orientation
  • 9:15am-10:15am In-box exercise
  • 10:15am-11:15am Presentation; questions and answer
  • 11:15am-11:30am Break
  • 11:30am-12:15pm Psychological testing
  • 12:15pm-1:30pm Lunch with group
  • 1:30pm-1:45pm Given scenario description
  • 1:45pm-2:30pm Role playing situation; other participants know their role
  • 2:30PM-3:30PM Questions and answers with panel
  • 3:30pm Wrap-up
  • 4:00pm THE END
so what do you do
So what do you do?
  • First, don’t be applying for jobs that you have no business applying for
  • Be sure you’ve done your research on the organization and the position
  • Apply some of the principles we covered today, especially during the question and answer portion of your interview
  • Always be asking yourself “what are they looking for?”
  • Do a google search using <assessment center interviews>
  • The Perfect Interview by John Drake, pp154-156
three things that will kill you
Three things that will kill you
  • A limp handshake
  • No eye contact
  • Arriving late
check this fact out
Check this fact out

The last person interviewed gets the job 58% of the time

The first person, 14% of the time

other important things to know
Other important things to know
  • The more you get the interviewer talking, the greater your chances of getting the job
  • Non-smokers get the offer 94% of the time
  • First impressions are critical. The first 20 seconds can’t get you the job, but it can get you eliminated from further consideration
more tips
More tips
  • You need a confident walk, a firm handshake, eye contact, and a smile
  • Be personable, enthusiastic, and friendly
  • Try to “mirror” the interviewer
  • “Speed read” the individual:
  • Be nice to the secretary and all other staff you meet
  • Dress neatly and in conservative business attire; arrive 5-10 minutes ahead of time
  • Be sure you know how to get there, parking conditions, location of the office, etc…
other tips
Other tips
  • Avoid one word answers.
  • Anticipate reasons why they might feel that you’re not the exact person they want ; be prepared to tell them something that overcomes their reservations.
  • What about illegal questions?
  • Have questions to ask them-go to and use <interviewee questions> as the keyword.
one more tip
One more tip
  • Be sure to write a thank you note. You not only want to thank them for the interview, but also want to restate the case for why you’re the right person. You have the additional knowledge you gained through the interview. Put it to work.
last tip
Last tip
  • Practice
  • Practice
  • Practice
  • Practice
  • Practice
  • Practice
  • Practice
  • Competency Based Interviews by Robin Kessler
  • Interviewing and SalaryNegotiations by Kate Wendleton
  • Knock ‘Em Dead by Martin Yate
  • 101 Dynamite Questions to Ask atYour Job Interview by Richard Fein
  • Hiring The Best by Martin Yate
  • The Perfect Interview by John Drake
so it won t fall in

So, why is a manhole cover round?

So it won’t fall in.