INTERVIEWING SKILLS& THANK YOU’S Shepherd UniversityCareer Development Center Gardiner Hall – Ground Floor 304-876-5122 www.shepherd.edu/jobweb
Interview OutlineInterviewing is a skill. An interview is a conversation between you and a potential employer. Ideally, it will be a mutuallyinformative dialogue within which each of you benefits from learning about the other. The candidate uses the interview asan opportunity to share information about her/his background and qualifications, to express interest in the hiringorganization, and to pose questions to the interviewer. Likewise, the interviewer uses the conversation to promote thehiring organization and to determine if a good match exists between the candidate and the position. While this exchangeof information is an integral aspect of the conversation, the “fit” between you and the interviewer(s) – how natural theconversation is, how much you enjoy one another’s company, how confident and positive you seem, and how interestedthey are in being stranded at an airport with you for 5 hours – can be just as important.The more you practice, the better you will be able to interview. The Career Development Center offers mock interviewsby appointment to give you constructive feedback. Call 304.876.5122 to schedule a mock interview, and please dont waituntil you have an interview to start practicing!What’s the Big Deal with First Impressions?Think about it: You meet someone new. You size them up. In about a minute (sometimes within 30 seconds) you candecide whether you like this person or not, and whether they’ll fit in with your group of friends. Managers see a lot ofapplicants and they are very skilled at sizing people up. They can tell in a flash who’ll fit in and who won’t – regardless ofqualifications. Three Basic Things that Help Mold an Impression 1) Your Appearance 2) Your Manners 3) Your AttitudeAppearances:Appearance has nothing to do with brand labels you wear or good looks. Someone with a good appearance looks fresh,clean, proud and confident – Professional! Project the wrong impression and you won’t fit in. Project the right impressionand you have a good chance.Manners:Manners are the customs or habits of a group. Show that you fit into the group by showing some manners. The firstmanner an employer will look for is punctuality – showing up for the interview on time. This shows if you are reliable and ifyou will show up to work on time. Showing up late for an interview could hurt your chances of being hired in 70% of theinterviews you go on.Attitude:Attitude separates the winners from the losers. It can be more important than experience.“Give me someone who’s enthusiastic and motivated,” explains a manager. “Someone who’s really excited about comingto work for me…someone who looks bright, alert, alive…someone who’ll look me straight in the eye…someone with anhonest, wide-open smile…someone who sits on the edge of their chair…someone who uses their hands to show whatthey mean…someone who asks questions…someone who’s interested in what we do here…someone who wants to helpme as much as I want to help them…someone who’s not afraid to say that they really want this job.” -The Job Hunting HandbookP’s of InterviewingProfessional: Both in dress and demeanor, look and act like a business professional.Poised: Eye contact, posture, the way you carry yourself, facial expression, (think pleasant!) are all observed.Personable: Interact with everyone that you meet and treat them as if they are the most important person in the room. Genuine outgoing personalities are what they look for.Positive! Speak well of your former employers, think customer service and safety when answering questions.
Dress for Success! First impressions are very important to employers, so the familiar saying, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression" couldnt ring more true. Here are a few tips and resources to help you dress appropriately: 1. Wear professional and conservative clothing. Choose apparel that has received favorable feedback from people who are knowledgeable about the industry standard or specific company policy. 2. Ensure that clothing is clean, pressed and well-fitted. 3. Wear conservative (dark) shoes that are clean and polished. 4. Choose accessories that complement your clothing rather than distract from it. 5. Remove facial and body piercings. 6. Cover visible tattoos to avoid distraction. 7. Keep fragrances and jewelry minimal. 8. Make sure your hair is clean and conservative in color and style. 9. Less is more. Keep your look simple but classy until you become accustomed to the environment and learn about the company’s dress code.JOB INTERVIEW DRESS TIPS FOR JOB INTERVIEW DRESS TIPS FOR WOMEN MEN- You can’t go wrong wearing a solid navy - A solid navy blue or medium-to-dark blue or medium-to-dark gray business gray business suit is best, with a long- suit, with a solid white, long-sleeve, no- sleeve solid white dress shirt and frills blouse. Avoid pastel colors, or conservative tie. A tie pin or clip will bright, flashy colors. keep your tie from moving around when- Hosiery is recommended (make sure you open your jacket. there are no runs!). - Always remember to leave the last- Wear low-heeled, conservative dress button of your suit unbuttoned. When shoes that color coordinate with your you sit, you should unbutton your jacket; suit. (Do not wear open-toed shoes!) when standing you should button.- Style your hair and make sure you’re not - Wear calf-length dress socks that match constantly flipping it out of the way. If it’s your suit. Avoid crew or tube socks. long, consider wearing it back or up. - Wear low-heeled dress shoes that- Have manicured nails. Avoid bright match your suit. (Example: Don’t wear colored polish. Wearing clear polish or brown shoes with a black suit, wear none is best. black).- Use make-up sparingly. No sparkles to - Wear a belt that matches your shoes. your hair or face. - Get a haircut or trim. If you have long- Use perfume sparingly or none at all. hair, wear it back in a pony tail. Avoid smelling like cigarette smoke. - Clean shaven is best. If you have facial- Wear small, conservative style earrings. hair, make sure it’s well-groomed. Only one per ear in the traditional - Have manicured fingernails (trimmed earlobe position. and clean).- Remove any facial or visible body - Remove earrings and any other facial or piercings; Cover visible tattoos. visible body piercings.; Cover visible- Carry a padfolio/portfolio or briefcase tattoos. (can be used in place of carrying a - Avoid heavy colognes; use sparingly or purse) none at all. Avoid smelling like cigarette- It is ok to carry a purse, but make sure it smoke. matches your outfit and isn’t big and bulky (leather is always best).
TOP TEN INTERVIEW TIPS1. PRACTICE!Practice your answers! Not just in your head but out loud! Write out your answers – this helps youremember key words. As we write things out our brain remembers…it’s your brain and handworking together (this really does help!).2. MOCK INTERVIEWS ARE GREAT!Don’t wait until the day before your interview - it won’t help that much. As soon as you sign up foran interview is the best time to sign up for a mock interview. (At least one week before) Contactthe Career Development Center to schedule your mock interview.3. PAUSES ARE GREAT!a) They give you time to think!b) They slow you down/calm you down!c) They get rid of Ums and Ahs!4. WORDS TO AVOID!Like ▪ You know ▪ Kinda/Sorta/Maybe/Stuff/Things ▪ Blah blah blah5. WORDS TO USE!Definite words: I am, I have, I accomplished, I created, I know.“I” is better than saying “you” or “we.”6. STAY POSITIVE!Don’t say bad things about anyone or anything (school, work, previous boss). Employers can bequickly turned off by negative attitudes – stay positive!7. USE EXAMPLES!PROVE it to me - give me examples, situations, events that prove you are a good leader, a goodresearcher, an excellent communicator! Companies want to know that you have done thesethings in the past. Tell your story!8. EXAMPLES COME FROM KNOWING YOURSELF!Really examine yourself - use your resume - and beyond, before - to really have good examplesfor your interview! Be able to speak comfortably and concisely about your Strengths,Weaknesses, and Experience.9. RESEARCH THE COMPANY & INDUSTRY!It shows: intelligence, interest, motivation, and desire! Employers are impressed when you taketime to know about the company you are interviewing with. Know the company Mission,Product/Service, Reputation, Competitors, Subsidiaries, and the Position for which you areapplying. Be aware of Industry trends, Jargon and Lingo. Be familiar with a professionalorganization or become a member of one!10. ASK GOOD QUESTIONS!Make up questions that show you did company research. Ask questions that are different thanother questions students will ask, this will make them remember you! The only way to determine ifthis company is a fit for you is to ask about them, so ask questions! And, in order for thecompany to determine if you are a fit for them, they have to ask you questions! Be prepared!
MORE TIPS TO A SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEW…Plan Ahead● Take at least 3 extra copies of your resume and list of references to the interview● Have questions to ask the employers (at least two); never say you don’t have questions● Be prepared to discuss salary, but cautious about discussing salary during a first interview; onlydo so if brought up by employer. It’s better to discuss during a second interview. Give a range,not an exact number.Get a good night’s sleep the night before the interview!Show up on time! (10-15 minutes early)Establish a rapport. Be courteous to everyone with whom you make contact. When theinterviewer arrives, stand to greet him/her, and give a firm handshake and confident greeting.Show an interest. Make an effort to look interested and be enthusiastic about what the recruiteris saying. Watch body language!Demonstrate your competence● Use personal stories/experiences to illustrate answers to questions.● If you don’t understand the questions, ask for clarification before responding.● Take time to listen to what is being asked – don’t interrupt the interviewer.● Repeat the question so the interviewer knows that you understand what they asked.State your skills● Back them up with an example.● Relate the skills back to the company and how your experience will benefit them.Towards the end of the interview● Ask questions of yours that have not been answered.● Find out the next step in the process and what the timeline looks like.● Let the interviewer know how much you like the company and want the job.● Ask for a business card.● Thank the interviewer.After the interview● Thank you letters – send a letter to everyone that you interviewed with or that assisted youduring the day. Send the letter within 24-48 hours after the interview. Reiterate your interest inthe position and in topics that were discussed in the interview.● In addition to the letter, send an Email within 24-28 hours after the interview. This way theyare sure to receive it immediately; however, the email can be deleted, but a letter or note will beplaced in your file. So, be sure to also send a letter or note.● Reflect – Did you prepare enough? What did you do well? What can you do differently nexttime?
STAR – BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW TECHNIQUE Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you neededSituation or to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situationTask can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event. Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you.Action you took Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did -- not the efforts of the team. Dont tell what you might do, tell what you did. What happened? How did the event end? What did youResults you accomplish? What did you learn?achieved “30-SECOND TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF”Almost every job interview begins with this question – “Tell Me About Yourself” –and it’s best to be prepared when answering since this question will most likelyset the tone for the entire interview. 1. Brief introduction – share that you recently graduated from Shepherd and your degree. 2. Your key accomplishments, credentials, education, career start. 3. Key strengths demonstrated by your accomplishments – career progress, growth, most recent accomplishments, and internship experience or other relevant experience. 4. The importance of your strengths and accomplishments to your prospective employer. 5. Where and how you see yourself developing in the position for which you are applying – What you want (tempered with the right amount of modesty).By working on your personal statement, you will get a clear focus as to the skillsyou possess and what you would like to do with them. The better you know it, thebetter you will be able to articulate it to others. This will also boost the self-confidence you project, which is key to a good interview. Once you have yourstatement down, you can use it at interviews, while networking at conferences,meetings, and at job fairs!
Types of InterviewsDirective Typical of people that work in HR and are professional recruiters. Can be very structured and impersonal. List of questions and methodical in nature.Nondirective Used by people that are not professional recruiters. Tends to be more casual and free-flowing. Questions tend to be broad and vague.Group May be used by a company that is hiring a large number of employees for a training program. Assessment is based on things like teamwork, interpersonal, and leadership skills.Board Candidate is interviewed by a number of people at one time. Common in educational settings.Stress Not common in entry-level positions. Recruiter purposely introduces stress into the interview. He or she may make the candidate wait, behave rudely, ask questions in a demanding fashion, etc. More likely to happen in upper level management interviews.Behavioral Has become very popular. Based on the premise that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation. Asks for examples of how you have handled situations and challenges. Use STAR Method to prepare for behavioral questions (http://www.quintcareers.com/STAR_interviewing.html)Case Used in management consulting firms. Recruiter will present the candidate with a problem that may or may not be business related. The candidate is then asked to talk his/her way through an assessment of the issues. Cases are used to assess the candidate’s analytic, problem solving, and creative skills.
Fifty-Two Questions Interviewers Frequently Ask College Seniors1. Tell me about yourself. 28. What led you to choose your major field of2. What are your long-range and short-range study? career goals and objectives, when and why did 29. What college subjects did you like best? you establish these goals and how are you Why? preparing yourself to achieve them? 30. What college subjects did you like least?3. What specific goals, other than those related to Why? your occupation, have you established for 31. If you could do so, how would you go back yourself for the next 10 years? and plan your academic study differently?4. What do you see yourself doing five years from Why? now? 32. What changes would you make in your5. What do you really want to do with your life? college?6. What are your long range career objectives? 33. Do you have any plans for further study?7. How do you plan to achieve your career goals? 34. Do you think that your grades are a good8. What are the most important rewards you indication of your academic achievement? expect in your business career? 35. What have you learned from participation9. What do you expect to be earning in five in extra-curricular activities? years? 36. In which kind of work environment are you10. Why did you choose the career for which you most comfortable? are planning? 37. How do you work under pressure?11. Which is more important to you, the money or 38. What part-time or summer jobs have been the type of job? most interesting? Why?12. What do you consider your greatest strengths 39. How would you describe your ideal first job and weaknesses? after graduation?13. How would you describe yourself? 40. Why did you decide to seek a position with14. How do you think a friend or a professor who this company? knows you well would describe you? 41. What do you know about our company?15. What motivates you to put forth your greatest 42. What two or three things are most effort? important to you in your career?16. How has your college education prepared you 43. Are you seeking employment in a for a business career? company of a certain size? Why?17. Why should I hire you? 44. What criteria are you using to evaluate the18. What qualifications do you have that make you company for which you hope to work? think you will be successful in business? 45. Do you have a geographical preference?19. How do you determine or evaluate success? Why?20. What do you think it takes to be successful in a 46. Are you willing to relocate? company like ours? 47. Are you willing to travel?21. In what ways do you think you can make a 48. Are you willing to spend six months (a contribution to our company? year, etc.) as a trainee?22. What qualities should a successful manager 49. Why do you think you might like to live in possess? the community where our company is23. Describe a relationship that should exist located? between a supervisor and subordinates? 50. What major problem have you24. What two or three accomplishments have encountered and how did you deal with it? given you the most satisfaction? Why? 51. What have you learned from your25. Describe your most rewarding college mistakes. experience. 52. What questions do you have for us?26. If you were hiring a graduate for this position, what qualities would you look for?27. Why did you choose your particular college?Source: Coloring Your Parachute: A Manual of Career Programs for Professionals.
Guide to Appropriate Pre-Employment InquiriesInquiry Area Illegal Questions Legal Questions Are you a U.S. citizen? Are you authorized to work in the United States? Where were you/your parents born? What language do you read/speak/write fluently? (ThisNational What is your “native tongue”? question is okay only if this ability is relevant to theOrigin/Citizenship performance of the job.) “If hired, you may be required to submit proof of citizenship.” How old are you? Are you over the age of 18?Age When did you graduate? What’s your birth date? What’s your marital status? Would you be willing to relocate if necessary? With whom do you live? Would you be able and willing to travel as needed for the Do you plan to have a family? When? job? (This question is okay if it is asked of all applicantsMarital/Family How many kids do you have? for the job.) What are your child-care arrangements? Would you be able and willing to work overtime asStatus necessary? (This question is okay if it is asked of all applicants for the job.) Do you have any relatives currently employed by the company? What clubs or social organizations do you belong to? List any professional or trade groups or other organizations Do you attend religious services /or/ a house of worship? that you belong to that you consider relevant to yourAffiliations You may not be told “This is a Catholic / Protestant / Jewish / ability to perform this job. atheist organization.” How tall are you? How much do you weigh? (Questions Are you able to life a 50-pound weight and carry it 100Personal about height and weight are not acceptable unless minimum yards, as this is part of the job? standards are essential for the safe performance of the job.) Do you have any disabilities? Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job? Please complete the following medical history. (This question is okay if the interviewer has thoroughly Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations? If described the job.) yes, list them and give dates when these occurred. Can you demonstrate how you would perform the What was the date of your last physical exam? following job-related functions? How’s your family’s health? As part of the hiring process, after a job offer has beenDisabilities When did you lose your eyesight? How? made, you will be required to undergo a medical exam. Do you need an accommodation to perform the job? (This (Exam results must be kept strictly confidential, except question can be asked only after a job offer has been made.) medical/safety personnel may be informed if emergency Do you currently (or have you in the past) received any medical treatment is required, and supervisors may be Workmen’s Compensation? informed about necessary job accommodations, based on exam results.) Do you have any physical condition that may limit your ability to perform the job applied for? Have you ever been arrested? Have you ever been convicted of __________? (The crimeArrest Record name should be reasonably related to the performance of the job in question.) If you’ve been in the military, were you honorably In what branch of the armed forces did you serve?Military discharged? What type of training or education did you receive in the military?Address or duration How long have you been a resident of this state or city?of last residence What is your current address? Any questions regarding complexion, color of skin, or otherRace/Ethnicity questions directly or indirectly indicating race or color. Please include a photograph with resume and/or application A photograph may be required of you after employment. form. Interviewer cannot request an applicant, at his/her option, toPhotograph submit a photograph. Interviewer cannot require a photograph after the interview but before hiring. When did you last attend high school? What is your academic, vocational, or professionalEducation education? What schools have you attended?Notice in case of Please provide us with the name and address of the relative to Please provide us with the name and address of the personemergency be notified in case of accident of emergency. to be notified in case of accident or emergency. An interviewer cannot require an applicant to submit the By whom were you referred for a position here?References contact information of a religious reference. An interviewer may not inquire about any item that is not job Any misstatements or omissions of material facts in yourMiscellaneous related or necessary for determining the applicant’s ability for application may be cause for dismissal. employment.Source: Kaplan, R. Planning Job Choices
Telephone InterviewsTelephone interviews are used by employers as a way of identifying potential employees for anavailable position. They are often used to narrow down the candidate search by identifying whichcandidates’ qualifications most closely match with the needs of the employer. It is important to beprepared for a telephone interview at all times after submitting a resume because manyemployers will not notify you before they call. The goal of a telephone interview is to be invited infor a face-to-face interview, so it is important to be prepared and professional.Be prepared Make a list of common interview questions and your answers. Treat this interview as you would a face-to-face interview. Write down and review your strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, skills, and qualifications. As with any interview, have questions prepared. Keep a copy of your resume with you at all times. Place a copy on your desk in clear view so that you do not have to spend time searching for it while you are on the phone. Make sure there are no distractions or noises. Turn the television and radio off, ask any people around to leave the room or go to a different room, and close the door. Make sure your phone is on and nearby. If they are going to call you on a cell phone, make sure that you are in an area with good service and that your battery is charged. Have a pen and paper ready for note-taking.During-the-Interview Tips Speak clearly and slowly – you want the interviewer to be able to understand what you are saying. Have a glass of water nearby just in case your mouth becomes dry. This will help you speak more clearly without having to cough or clear your throat. Smile! Smiling will change the tone of your voice, and the interviewer will be able to notice. Write down the names of the people who are interviewing you so that you do not forget throughout your time on the phone. Do not interrupt the interviewer! Be enthusiastic about the job. Let the interviewer know that you are very interested in the position, and allow that to come through in your tone of voice. Use formal names, such as Mr. or Ms. (Last Name), unless you are asked to use their first name. Keep your answers short and to the point. Interviewers usually do not want to spend a large amount of time on the telephone. They will want to spend most of their time meeting you in person. Stay calm and do not rush through your answers. Do not smoke, eat, or chew gum during your interview. Take notes so that you remember what you and the interviewer discussed. Say thank-you and reiterate your strong interest in the job. Ask what the next step in the process is. Send a thank-you letter within 24-48 hours, as you would after any interview.
Thank You Letters This information is fairly generic in nature. Please contact the Career Development Center for more information and advice on writing thank you letters. Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgWhy Write A Thank You LetterThe thank you letter can not be neglected in todays competitive market. You need an edge over theother candidates and you can increase your chance of being hired by writing them - by marketingyourself to them one more time. The bottom line is that less than 10% of interviewees ever follow-upinterviews with thank you letters. If you do, you rise that much higher to the top of the candidate pool.How To Write A Thank You LetterYou should plan to send a thank you letter as soon after the interview as possible. It’s best to sendwithin 24 hours of the interview. To be most effective, it should arrive prior to the final hiringdecision. A thank you letter should say much more than "thank you". Here are some of importantpoints you may want to include:Express EnthusiasmConvey your interest in and enthusiasm for the school district and the position for which youinterviewed. Try to be specific about why you are interested and how you are a good fit for the school.Address Unresolved PointsAddress any issues or questions that came up during the interview that you feel you did not fullyanswer. This letter is your last chance to make a positive impression on the interviewer.Be SincereThe letter must be genuine, unique, and sincere - assure them you recognize the importance of themeeting and appreciate their time.Personalize ItYou will undoubtedly be one of many interviewees in a short time period - you need to set yourselfapart from the other candidates so they will remember you when you leave. In your letter, highlight akey point from your interview that you believe the interviewer will remember. Additionally, if you meetwith more than one person, consider sending them all thank you letters, each one a bit different; youmay not know exactly who in the group will be making the decisions. This will also force you toremember with whom you interviewed.Make One Last First ImpressionInterviewers, especially if they are interviewing several people in a short time period, will typically onlyremember 3-5 things about you. Choose 3-5 points about your candidacy - the best you have to offer- and highlight it in your resume, your cover letter, the interview, and finally, in the thank you letter.Should I Send It Typewritten or Email?There are many opinions about the presentation style of a thank you letters. We generallyrecommend typing the letter in a business-style format (much like your cover letters), triple-checkingfor typos and grammatical errors. You are being evaluated as a professional and typing it confirmsthat this meeting was important enough to take the time to present yourself in a professional manner.Sending thank you letters via email is fine as long as it fits the "culture" of the organization and isused appropriately. If an employer has an email account on her/his business card, sending the letterthis way may be appropriate. Be sure there is no doubt as to the email address (you may or may notbe informed that the message was undeliverable). Format your letter with all the same formalities asa regular thank-you letter. Email tends to make us a bit less formal and you do not want the note tobe overly friendly. Try to keep the message to one screen length. Hard copy will generally be placedin a file, whereas email has a tendency to be read quickly and deleted. You may consider following upthe email letter with hard copy.
SAMPLE THANK-YOU LETTER876 King StreetShepherdstown, WV 25443January 25, 2009Mr. Fred JonesDirector, Editorial ServicesAtlantic Publishing2020 Wharf Ave.Newport News, VA 23607Dear Mr. Jones:I want to thank you very much for interviewing me yesterday for the associateeditor position. I enjoyed meeting you and learning about your publications.My enthusiasm for the position and my interest in working for Atlantic Publishingwere strengthened as a result of the interview. I think my education andinternship experiences fit nicely with the job requirements, and I am sure that Icould make a significant contribution to the firm over time.I want to reiterate my strong interest in the position and in working with you andyour staff. You provide the kind of opportunity I seek. Please feel free to contactme at (804)555-1212 or email@example.com if I can provide you with anyadditional information.Again, thank you for the interview and your consideration.Sincerely,Tess Tomsic