A job interview is an opportunity for the company to learn about you, and for you to learn about them. It’s an EXCHANGE of information where both you and the company explore a potential “relationship.” The interview process allows both the interviewer and the candidate to get the information they need to make good employment decision.
Most interview questions come from an interviewer’s concern with three issues:
Why do you want to work with us? Questions to verify your motivation and interest in the company
What can you do for us? Questions to know whether or not you have the skills to excel at the job.
Who are you? Questions to know whether or not you will be a good “fit” for the company
What is the interviewer trying to accomplish?
The interviewer wants to:
- Learn more about your background including education, experience, career goals
- Give you as the job seeker information about the company
- Determine if you and the company or the position are a good match
What are you trying to accomplish?
You goals for the job interview is:
- To share information about yourself
- To learn inside information about the company
- To determine if the company is a good match for you.
Why do interviews cause so much anxiety?
Thinking you must be “better than” the other job candidates can cause a lot of stress. Feeling that your performance in the interview will determine if you get a job with the company adds to that stress. Being nervous is normal, but the more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be – just like studying for an exam.
Before the Interview: RESEARCH YOURSELF
Employers want to know about YOU. So, refresh your memory all you can about your education, your jobs, 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 skills, abilities and interests. 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.
Before the Interview: RESEARCH THEM
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?
More on Interviewing
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