Career Services


Interviewing Guide

You've completed your job search. Your résumés have been checked and sent. The phone rings. You have just received a phone call inviting you for a personal interview. Your heart leaps, you enthusiastically say yes to the interview, hang up the phone and panic.

Congratulations, you are a winner! You have made it to the point where many others have failed.

So now what? Questions are spinning around in your mind. What to wear; what to say or not say; what questions to ask. These are just a few of the questions you will need to deal with prior to and during the interview.

Keep in mind that interviewing is a skill! So…PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! The more you practice, the better you will become.

Take advantage of our in-house program called Perfect Interview. This is a computerized program that will not only ask you the questions, but video your responses. We know, it sounds painful. But it’s the only way for you to really know what you look and sound like as you answer your questions. Don’t worry NO ONE can see or hear your responses. It’s for your eyes ONLY. Unless you choose to save it for us to help you.

We also offer workshops on interviewing. Come and learn the do’s and don’ts of interviewing. You may also want to sign up for the Etiquette Dinner (usually offered in February)

We can also meet with you one-on-one if you have more questions.

Types of Interviews

There are many types of interviews. Here we will cover screening, telephone, selection, behavioral, and stress interviews.

The screening interview is usually general and is relatively short; running from 20 - 30 minutes. It is intended primarily to eliminate unqualified candidates, who have met minimum qualifications, from further consideration. For example, when employers recruit on a college campus, they use screening interviews to decide which of numerous candidates are potentially best qualified to meet their organization's needs. These selected candidates are usually invited to the employer's office for a second more detailed interview. Although recruiters generally do not have authorization to hire from screening interviews, they can prevent candidates from moving to the next stage of the sequence. Since this is the case, you will want to approach this interview with the same attitude that says you want the job. Your goal in a screening interview is to motivate the recruiter to pass your name on to the hiring manager for an in-depth interview.

The telephone interview is increasingly becoming a way to screen candidates. A phone interview is as serious as the face-to-face variety. Choose the wording for your answering machine carefully. This will probably be the first impression they have of you. Advise any roommates that you may be receiving phone calls for interviews and it is important that they get accurate information. When you get the phone call, be careful of background noise such as video games/music or gum chewing. Particularly since they can only go by your words and voice inflection, choose them very carefully.

The selection interview, a longer, more thorough interview, is designed to identify the most qualified candidate. A selection interview may last one hour or more. It is not uncommon for a candidate to go through a sequence of four or five selection interviews with several different officials. The selection interview can take various forms.

One type would be the behavioral based interview. The idea behind this type of interview is that the best way to predict future behavior is to determine past behavior. Instead of asking how you would behave in a particular situation, the interviewer will ask you to describe how you did behave. He or she will probably question and probe. The interviewer will ask you to provide details, and will not allow you to theorize or generalize about events. The interview will be a more structured process that will concentrate on areas they feel are important. You may not get a chance to deliver any prepared stories.

Another type would be the Stress Interview which is used to find out how far you can be pushed before you assert yourself. It may also be used to find out how you assert yourself. The interviewer may lapse into long periods of silence or be unfriendly and brusque. She/he may stare at you without blinking an eye, or simply ignore you and concentrate on note taking. Fortunately, this technique is used infrequently, but if it happens, recognize it for what it is and try to be at ease.

Also with the increase in technology, Videoconferencing has become an interview method to reduce travel expenses. If your interview will be done through this media please call our office for more information.

Regardless of the type of interview, both the interviewer and interviewee will have dual roles. Not only will you be presenting yourself and your qualifications; you will be evaluating whether or not you would consider the organization based on information and impressions you acquire in the interview. At the same time, the interviewer will be trying to discern your potential, as well as presenting his/her organization in an informative and appealing manner.

Many questions arise when it comes to the subject of a meal, which is scheduled into the interview. The main point to remember is that employers mostly want to see how you handle yourself in public. Etiquette is one of the things they will be looking for. It is unusual for formal questions to be asked during a meal, however you should always be prepared. For pointers on dining out read over the suggestions and plan on attending the Etiquette Dinner.

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