Basic Interview Skills

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  • 1. Basic Interview Skills An Overview
  • 2. What is an interview?
    • An interview is a…
      • Structured meeting between you and the employer
      • Interviewing is a skill to be developed
      • Practice makes perfect
    • The purpose of an interview is to
    • Allow you to assess the position and nature of the organization to determine if there’s a fit between your professional goals and the job
    • Allow the Interviewer to gather information regarding your interests, skills, & abilities to determine if you will meet their needs
  • 3. Interview Formats
    • Phone or Screening Interview: Used to narrow the field
    • One-on-One Interview: Most common type; usually conducted by hiring official
    • Group/Panel Interview: Conducted by several people at once
    • Meal Interview: Used to see how you interact in a social situation
    • Second/Site Interview: Tour of the workplace, meet the staff, and asked additional questions by employer; usually ½ or full day
  • 4. Before for the Interview
    • Research the company and position
      • Company website
      • Information sessions
    • Know yourself and be able to articulate (sell yourself):
      • Skills
      • Strengths
      • Accomplishments
      • Career goals
      • Areas of development
      • Why you should be hired
    • Based on your research and knowledge of yourself, communicate your “fit” with the company
    • Be prepared to ask and answer questions and provide specific examples
    • Be prompt and prepared
      • Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early
      • Scout location/parking prior to interview date
      • Bring extra copies of resume
      • Bring Reference List (name, title, complete address, telephone, and e-mail)
      • Bring list of questions for interviewer
  • 5. Professional Dress
    • Men
      • Two-piece suit; single or double breasted (dark blue or gray; avoid brown or sport coats)
      • Solid colors and tighter-woven fabric
      • Simple pattered tie
      • Polished shoes with socks high enough so no skin is visible when sitting or crossing legs
      • Neatly groomed hair and beard/mustache
      • Avoid strong colognes, earrings and body piercings
    • Women
      • Conservative, tailored suit or suit dress (skirt length: top of knee down)
      • Simple tailor blouse
      • Accessories should be simple
      • Basic medium/low heeled pumps
      • Conservative jewelry coordinated with outfit (no dangles)
      • Handbag should be small and appropriate with outfit
  • 6. What to Take to the Interview
    • Nice notepad in leather folder
    • Good pen
    • Any completed application materials
    • Teaching portfolio
    • Portfolio
    • Performance pieces (audio, video, live performance)
    • Your own business cards
    • Breath mints
    • Extra money for parking garage or public transportation
  • 7. Body Language
    • Tips for projecting a positive image
      • When entering the room, give the appearance of high energy and self-confidence. Walk briskly and SMILE!
      • Shake hands firmly but don’t crush bones
      • Maintain eye contact throughout the interview
      • Sit up straight
      • Demonstrate that you are listening intently to the interviewer – occasionally nod your head
      • Don’t let your hands or fingers fidget (with themselves or other objects such as a pen, paper, or your hair)
      • Avoid folding your arms across your chest
  • 8. Stages of the Interview
    • Introduction – Interviewer will attempt to establish a rapport with you – 1 st impression very important
    • Review – Background (education and experience), interests, abilities, career goals, traditional or behavioral questions
    • Discussion – Potential opportunities and how you can possibly fit (present & future)
    • Conclusion – Points can be clarified by both parties and questions asked and answered by each – Interviewer may explain procedural matters and discuss how and when further contact will be made
  • 9. Behavior-Based Interviews
    • Behavior-Based
      • Based on the idea that past behavior is the best predictor of future success
      • Relies less on general questions and more on specifics
      • Questions usually begin with
        • “Tell me about a time when. . . “
        • “Give me an example of . . . “
        • Targeted Skills:
        • Alertness
        • Assertiveness
        • Commitment to task
        • Coping
        • Creativity
        • Decision making
        • Goal setting
        • Leadership
        • Listening
        • Management
        • Communication
        • Organization/planning
        • Perception
        • Problem solving
        • Team building
  • 10. Interview Techniques
    • How to answer behavior-based questions (storytelling)
      • SAR
      • S ituation
      • A ction
      • R esult
      • Review your resume for examples and write down potential answers to major skill areas
  • 11. After the Interview
    • Thank you notes/letters
      • Send thank you note to each individual with whom you interviewed (business cards)
      • Each note should be individualized
      • Should be sent within 24 to 48 hours
      • Handwritten notes are still the norm
      • E-mail thank you is acceptable if you know interviewer will not be in his/her office to receive your note in a timely fashion
    • Make Notes
      • What did you like?
      • What didn’t you like?
    • Evaluate
      • Determine if the job is right for you?
        • Environment
        • Culture
        • Location
      • A good fit will lead to a more successful, fulfilling career
  • 12. Reasons for Rejection may Include
    • Inability to express self clearly and/or poor communication skills
    • Uncertainty about future goals and/or career plans or unrealistic goals
    • Poor personal appearance
    • Lack of enthusiasm or interest in the jobs or organization (failure to ask questions)
    • Excessive interest in salary, benefits, and vacation
    • Lack of courtesy, maturity, or tact
    • Lack of knowledge about the organization
    • Lack of confidence or over-confidence
    • Evasiveness
  • 13. Remember
    • Behave professionally
    • Practice initial greeting and handshake (firm)
    • Smile
    • Maintain eye contact
    • Remain calm and confident
    • Obtain a business card from each interview (thank you letters)
    • Dress professionally
    • Be prepared to talk about yourself and your experiences
      • Education
      • Work
      • Volunteer/community service
    • Learn to be a storyteller
    • Provide specific, concrete examples of results & accomplishments
    • Remain positive, enthusiastic, poised and confident throughout the entire process
    • An interview is a formal conversation – avoid filler words such as “um,” “ah,” and “you know.”
    • Avoid indecisive phrases such as “I think,” “I guess,” “probably,” or “pretty good”
    • If you do not hear or understand a question, ask interviewer to repeat or clarify