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INTERVIEWING

Black male in styleInterviewing probably triggers more job anxiety than any other phase in the search to find a job or internship.  The information on interviewing here is to help you prepare and increase your comfort with the process.

Remember – The interview is an opportunity for the company to learn about you, but also for you to learn about the organization. It’s an EXCHANGE of information where both you and the company explore a potential “relationship.” The interviewing process allows both the interviewer and the candidate to get the information they need to make good  decisions.

Most interviewing questions come from the interviewer’s concern with three big issues:

Why do you want to work, intern or volunteer with that specific organization? These questions will seek to verify your motivation and interest in the company.

What can you do for the organization? These questions seek to understand whether or not you have the skills and abilities to excel at the role.

Who are you? These questions seek to understand whether or not you will be a good “fit” for the organization? If you will be a “good hire” etc.

What is the interviewer trying to accomplish by interviewing you:

  • Learn more about your background including education, experience, interests and career goals (Goals do not have to be super long term)
  • Give you a more deeper understanding of the organization
  • Determine if you and the organization or the position are a good match
    • To share information about yourself
    • To learn inside information about the organization
    • To determine if the organization is a good match for you

Thinking you must be “better than” the other job candidates can cause a lot of stress. Feeling that your performance in the interviewing process will determine if you get selected by the organization adds to that stress. Being nervous is normal, but the more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be during the interviewing process.  It really is just like studying for an exam.

Employers want to know about YOU. So, refresh your memory all you can about your education, your jobs, your internships, your beliefs, your interests, your goals, your strengths/weaknesses, your skills and abilities, in short—your SELF…this is what is meant by researching yourself.

Spend some time identifying your Values, Skills, Interests and Abilities (V.I.S.A.). Assess yourself in terms of your creativity, leadership qualities, communication skills, interpersonal skills, technical skills, etc. Analyze your work values, attitudes and expectations. Take a hard look at your educational experiences…what did they teach you about your field and about yourself?

This means knowing something about the company and the position before the interview. Interviewers will sometimes start with a question to find out what you know about the company. Be prepared to answer questions about what they do the size of the company, the company philosophy or mission, the company’s major clients, training programs or career development within the organization. Doing your homework will make you feel more comfortable.

TYPICAL QUESTIONS THEY WILL ASK:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Why did you decide to seek a job with this organization?
  • Why did you choose us over the competition?
  • What do you know about our products and service?
  • Why or how did you decide on a major?
  • Why did you choose your school or your major?
  • What work-related shills have you developed?
  • What motivates you the most/least?
  • Were you involved with campus projects or leadership programs?
  • What does your GPA say about you?
  • Give an example of a creative solution you had for a problem?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strengths?
  • Are you willing to travel or to relocate?
  • What are your short term and long term career goals?

TYPICAL QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK:

  • Can you tell me more about your training program?
  • What qualities are you seeking in a candidate?
  • What do you like most about working here?
  • What kind of training would I receive in this position?
  • Who will I be reporting to?
  • How do you measure success in this organization?
  • When will you be making a decision?
  • What is the next step in the process?
  • When may I contact you?

WHAT THEY CANNOT ASK:

  • Are you married or have a family?
  • What race or national origin are you?
  • What is your religion?
  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • What type of military discharge did you receive?
  • How old are you?

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T ASK:

  • What does your company do?
  • What can this company do for me?
  • What types of benefits do you offer?
  • How much vacation will I get?

TYPES OF JOB INTERVIEWS

If you are trying to improve your success in job interviews, it is important to learn about the different types of job interviews and how employers use them.

Assessment Center Interview

This is a job interview process that some companies use to observe and evaluate the actual behavior of potential employees. The employer may simulate an actual job situation and through a series of tests and interviews and observations, take note of how a potential employee would handle the issue.

Behavioral Interview

The premise behind behavioral interviewing is that past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. In this kind of interview the applicant is asked questions that focus on the candidate’s past experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities. The interview questions will focus on getting the candidate to share specific examples of past, actual behavior. Whether or not the questions are asked in a behavioral way, applicants should answer to focus on past, specific experiences. This is only one type of interview strategy that companies use.

Bot (Robot) Interview

This is one of the most modern types of job interviews currently happening in some very large corporations.  It is the type of interview where you may be interviewed by a robot.  Now that artificial intelligence is being used in the hiring process, it is increasingly possible that your first screening interview will not be with a person.

Case Interview

A type of interview where the job applicant is given a situation, a challenge or a problem to solve. Consulting firms use this specific type of interviewing methodology a lot. They believe it to be the best way of seeing how a potential candidate would handle real situations on the job.

Group Interview

The group interview involves having a lot of people in the room at the same time. It can mean one candidate with several interviewers or one or two interviewers with a large group of applicants. The biggest challenge is probably how to stand out in a crowd without appearing to draw all the attention to yourself in a conceited way. Some companies use the group interview as a way to narrow a large pool of candidates to a smaller group with real potential for employment.

Panel interview

The panel interview is sometimes referred to as the “tag-team interview” or the “team interview” because it involves one interview candidate meeting with a panel or a group of interviewers.

SKYPE Interview

SKYPE is a free voice over internet service that has revolutionized the video interviews and added a new dimension to the telephone interview. Companies are using this method to reduce time and travel costs for potential job applicants. You might be interviewed via SKYPE yourself or be asked to participate in a SKYPE interview or meeting.

Stress Interview

The type of interview where candidates are put under a lot of psychological stress. The goal of this type of interview is to see how a candidate would behave in stressful situations.

DRESS FOR SUCCESS

AA woman dressStudents hear it all the time, but it bears repeating – first impressions count and you have to dress for success.

Have you heard the expression: “Don’t judge a book by its cover?”  Well, employers, interviewers, recruiters and hiring managers judge people everyday based on first impression.  In a professional setting, how you dress is part of that first impress. So whether you are going to a job interview, career fair, or other networking event, place some emphasis on making a great first impression.  Plan to dress for success!

Our philosophy at The HBCU Career Center is that researching the company and knowing the industry’s acceptable dress standards is important to deciding how you will dress for interviewing. As a general rule, more conservative attire will go over better than more flashy attire.

What your attire might be saying about you?

  • How you dress shows how well prepared you are and that you take the job search process seriously.
  • You have done your research and know what the company’s expectations are for workplace attire.
  • You could be a good fit for the culture of the company.
  • Your attire could communicate how serious your interest is in the company.

TIPS FOR INTERVIEWING ATTIRE

The basics:

  • Although we shouldn’t have to say it; please shower and be clean for your job interview..
  • Travelling to your job interview? Think about what your clothes will look like on arrival.
  • Clothes should be crisp, pressed and ironed, and freshly cleaned.
  • Invest in a lint roller brush.
  • Focus on quality attire when you dress for success.
  • Do thrift store shopping to find classic pieces at lower costs.
  • Invest in dry cleaning services to prepare your clothes for interviews.
  • Use college resources to pull together a business professional wardrobe.
  • Do layaway or ask for retail gift cards as gifts if you know you will need interview items.
  • Interview attire is not just about the suit, think about accessories like shoes, purses, jewelry and professional portfolios.
  • Interview dress is not just about the suit, think about accessories like shoes, purses, jewelry and professional portfolios

Here are some articles with new information:

The rules area changing about what is expected for interviewing in terms of attire.  For instance years ago, the rule was that visible tattoos were not appropriate for job interviews.  That’s just one practice that has changed.  There are others.  Here are some resources to stay current.

You Don’t have to Hide your Tattoos to Get the Job via CollegeRecruiter.com

New Rules on Dressing for the Interview via Oprah.com

Workplace Dress Codes and Transgender Employees via Human Rights Campaign

Gender Neutral Interviewing and Business Clothing via The Balance

How to Dress for an Interview as a Butch Dyke via The Professor is In

Interview Attire for Disadvantaged Job Seekers via The Balance

Dressing for Interviews via Michigan State University

18 Best Professional Attire Images for Transgender Professionals via Pinterest

Dress for Success via North Carolina A & T State University

INTERVIEW COACHING

Interview Like a PRO Coaching

I developed the Interview Like a P.R.O.™ technique over a decade ago and have coached job seekers on the job interview strategy in one-on-one or group sessions.

This simple, but specific and focused technique has worked for many, many people over the last decade.

Why the Interview Like a P.R.O.™ technique?

Future behavior is based on your past behavior

Interviewing is all about story telling

What you share must convey specific and relevant

Will Interview Like a P.R.O.™ Coaching Help?

Once you have mastered the Interview Like a P.R.O.™ technique you will be able to master what I call the 3 C’s of Successful Interviewing – Using great Communication skills to speak with Confidence about your Competencies!  This technique will help you to:

Successfully prepare for every interview!

Know when you have answered the interview question!

Predict the interview questions you will be asked

Identify the most appropriate stories to use for the interview

Articulate your role and responsibilities

Develop an orientation to speaking about outcomes

Research and identify what employers are looking for in interviews

Interested in Interview Coaching sessions?

Book a Free 15-Minute chat with Dr. Robinson to see if Interview Coaching would work for you or if you have a quick question about an upcoming job interview!

Read all of our blog posts on Interviewing!

 

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