The S.T.A.R Method
Your job as an interviewee is to promote your brand (THE BEST YOU). Share concrete examples of ways in which you have excelled in class and in the workplace using the STAR method:
For the S – briefly describe a situation most relevant to the question.
For the T – briefly, describe a challenge you faced
For the A – Describe specific steps you took to solve the problem
For the R – the result is always positive. Even when a learning experience.
If you follow these steps you will be a star at every interview!
Research and analyze the position and the company before the interview in effort to determine whether or not there is a fit. Take the time to prepare your own thoughtful questions for interviewers to respond to during the interview so that you are able to better determine whether or not the position and company are a fit for you. Glassdoor– a job-search app, can be a useful tool for your research.
Things to consider in your research:
Is this where you want to go to work every day?
Does the job description interest you? Are their values well aligned with your own?
Know how long they have been in business.
What their major product is.
Know why you would want to work there and what you will contribute to the company.
What are they known for?
Who are their customers/clients (profile)?
What is the “culture”?
Be your best self Should you be yourself during the interview? Yes! Your very BEST self! Don’t sit in the waiting room with your legs stretched out, phone in hand, with a chilled out demeanor. Leave your phone in the car! Stand up and greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, and certainly not a limp handshake which might suggest a weak character. Smile and make eye contact. Remember that those first few seconds are a great opportunity to create a great impression. Avoid the classic negative body language traits; don’t cross your arms as this can be interpreted as defensive and try to sit forward and make direct eye contact to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position. The #1 traits hiring managers look for in candidates is a positive attitude. SHOW them that, if you work for them, you will be a team player who will follow directions and take initiative. That you can do the work! The interview Most interviews have a schedule – which makes it easier to follow along and prepare. The employer will talk about their organization, ask about your skills and experience and what you have to offer. A sample problem or situation may be offered for you to offer a solution. Think through it and analyze it like a class problem. Teamwork is important to offer as are concise answers. A timeline will usually be offered. If not, ask for one. When asked a question during an interview remember to keep your answers short. While it is true that you should answer many of the questions in a precise manner, there are also instances where you have to give detailed and somewhat longer answers. If you are asked about a specific task in your previous job that you performed really well, be sure to elaborate on your answer. Providing too short of a response to a question requiring an example means you’re not selling yourself well enough. That said, be sure not to ramble. Generally, limit your more detailed responses to 2-3 minutes. You can practice this by rehearsing verbal presentations of key qualifications in your resume. Be ready to convey your relevant skills, interests, and goals. Practice explaining your strengths and accomplishments ahead of time and have your elevator pitch ready. If they ask you what your salary expectation, it is a good idea to know the starting salary range for your major so that you are able to provide realistic information. Indeed.com or glassceiling.com are good Internet sites to use when checking into general salary ranges. Generally, salary is not discussed during the interview. The key objective for you and the employer is to determine the mutual fit and how you can add value. Compensation talk comes last – after they’re sold on you. How to answer common interview questions 1. Question: Tell me about yourself. How to answer: This is your opportunity to discuss who you are as a professional. Be sure to mention your education, experience, skills, possibly even why you chose this career path. Keep your response focused on who you are as a professional. 2. Question: What are three of your greatest strengths? How to answer: Be thoughtful and honest in your response. Describe the skills you have that are most relevant to the position. Be prepared to back up your response with an example. You can provide examples of how your strengths have worked for you in the past and discuss the ways the skills could benefit you in the position you are interviewing for. 3. Question: What are three of your weaknesses? How to answer: Be honest, but be cautious of stating that your weakness is what they are looking for an employee… Think about the job duties described in the job postings and try not to point out weaknesses that would be a major obstacle should you be hired. It is also wise to discuss how you are working on the weakness. Do not respond with “I can’t really think of anything”. 4. Question: Why should we hire you? How to answer: Be sure to point out qualities/skills/attributes that you possess that may set you apart from other candidates. Do you have certifications that others may not? Demonstrate confidence without sounding conceited. Illustrate your worth as an employee by talking about what past and present supervisors would say about you. Make sure you highlight your uniqueness to show you would be the best candidate for the position. 5. Question: Describe a leader you admire. How to answer: You do not have to know the person in order imitate their leadership, but it may be more realistic if you do. Be sure you list someone that you believe has effective leadership and know why you feel they are successful in leading. Refrain from choosing a controversial leader. Discuss why you admire this person, what is it about their leadership that made you choose them. What are some of the lessons you learned from this person and how could you incorporate that into your life. 6. Question: Tell me about a time when you had to extend a deadline. How to answer: You do not want to give a negative view of your accountability. Your answer should not indicate that you have poor time management skills or poor work ethic. Discuss your willingness to adjust a deadline if you think it will add to the overall quality of the project. What could happen if you had not adjusted the deadline. What steps did you take to extend the deadline? 7. Question: Where do you see yourself in five years? How to answer: This is one question you would not answer specifically. If you would like to see yourself in management, it is fine to say so, but you may not want to list a specific title you would like to hold. Be realistic. Consider the company you are interviewing with, their opportunities for advancement and how that will fit into your five year plan. 8. Question: Why are you leaving your current job? How to answer: Give two or three reasons why you are looking for a new position. Regardless of your feelings towards your supervisor and co-workers, refrain from talking negatively about them. This is a good opportunity to discuss the fact that you will be obtaining (recently obtained) a degree and you are looking for an opportunity to use the knowledge you gained through your education. 9. Question: Why do you feel you would be a good fit for this position? How to answer: Consider the skills and characteristics that you possess that could help you succeed in the position you are interviewing for. Think about the kind of person that would be perfectly compatible with the job duties. Discuss how you stay current in the field. 10. Question: What do you look for in a good supervisor? How to answer: Be sure to discuss the qualities, traits, characteristics that you look for in a supervisor. Discuss the characteristics, do not just list them. 11. Question: If you were hired how could your supervisor help you do the best on the job? How to answer: Discuss what you would want to see from your supervisor in the first weeks of your new position… Training, what type of supervision would you expect as you begin, things they could to do assist you in getting acclimated to the position, etc. 12. Question: Tell me about your relationship with your current and past supervisors How to answer: This question will give the interviewer a sense of your personality and how it relates to the prospective supervisor. How you discuss your past supervisors will give insight to the way you work and any potential problems that may arise. AVOID being negative! Be honest, but try to put a positive spin on it. If you didn’t get along well discuss what you learned about yourself, etc. 13. Question: Talk about a work environment that you think would be ineffective for you. How to answer: What do you need to have a positive work environment, or things that could have been better at a previous environment? Discuss how it would be ineffective without those things. You could consider the importance of: communication, feedback, ability to infuse a personal touch on projects, etc. Would having these items make the work place more or less effective? 14. Question: In your previous experience, would you say you were known for taking the initiative? If so, provide an example. How to answer: If you are known for taking the initiative be sure to provide a good example of what you did and why it was taking initiative. If you have not been known to take initiative in the workplace, provide an example of why. 15. Question: Do you prefer a stable day-to-day routine or a dynamic constantly changing environment? How to answer: Be sure to consider the position you are interviewing for. If you prefer consistency, will this job provide that? If you prefer dynamic constantly changing, will this position provide that? 16. Question: How well do you handle criticism? How to answer: You may consider responding that constructive criticism allows you to grow as a professional. 17. Question: Tell me something about yourself that I will not find in your resume. How to answer: This is your opportunity to discuss experiences that you may have omitted from your resume to keep it at one page. Be sure the information you provide is relevant and not found in your resume. You want to give them something new. If you have won awards that weren’t noted, if you are currently working on a certificate, but didn’t include it on the resume because it is not finished… now is the time to bring those things up. 18. Question: Tell me about a time when you showed real determination. How to answer: Talk about a time when you persevered to accomplish a goal. Choose something that that will reflect an interest in developing new skills, demonstrates your ability to gather resources and manage stressful situations. Discuss the results you obtained. 19. Question: How do you manage stress in your daily work? How to answer: The interviewer is attempting to gain information to see if you have a tendency to crack under pressure. Be sure you show that you can manage high-pressure situations. Think of ways you manage your stress throughout the day. Stay professional, and be sure not to give an example of something that would display you are unproductive during work hours because of stress. 20. Question: What do you bring to this job that is unique and would make us want to hire you? How to answer: Your answer should demonstrate confidence in your abilities without sounding conceited. Consider what past and present supervisors or co-workers would say about you. What specific skills do you have that relate to this job? What specific tasks do your current co-workers/supervisors come to you to complete and why? Be sure to answer the question, do not just list the same skills that are displayed on your resume. 21. Question: What would your ideal job be like? How to answer: Your answer should demonstrate confidence in your abilities without sounding conceited. Consider what past and present supervisors or co-workers would say about you. What specific skills do you have that relate to this job? What specific tasks do your current co-workers/supervisors come to you to complete and why? Be sure to answer the question, do not just list the same skills that are displayed on your resume. 22. Question: Do you prefer working alone or in a group? How it works: Be honest, but also appear flexible. Consider the values and mission of the company… is teamwork something they strive for? If you are best at completing tasks alone, you can honestly say that, but also state that you can work in a group setting, and if you are better working in a group, that is okay, but be sure to mention you can also complete tasks individually. Be sure that you consider the typical work day in this position and if you would normally be working alone or in a group… 23. Question: Why do you want to work here? How it works: Be sure to consider what you know about this company, their mission, values, reputation, etc. (be aware of these, but do not recite them in the interview.) Discuss the reasons why a position in this company is appealing to you. Be sure to be insightful.
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