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Interviewing Collection


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Collection of interviewing documents and handouts.

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Interviewing Collection

  1. 1. Career Center Duke Career Center • • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708 Interviewing Collection Index Sample Interview Questions The STAR Method Case Interviews Informational Interviewing Developing a 30-Second Commercial
  2. 2. Sample Interview Questions • Tell me about yourself. • Why are you interested in this position/industry/company? • Give me an example of a time you’ve done more than what was required. • Give me an example of a time where you had to deal with an ethical dilemma, or were faced with a situation that had ethical implications and challenges. • Give an example of a good decision you’ve made recently. What alternatives did you consider? Why was it a good decision? • Can you give me an example of a time you were able to identify a small problem and fix it before it became a major problem? • Tell me about a time that you saw something happen that you know was wrong. What did you do? • Interacting with others can be challenging at times. Describe a specific situation in which you had the greatest difficulty getting along with peers, team members or others at work. How did you handle the situation? • When have you inspired someone to work hard or do a good job? How did you do that? • Have you ever been in a situation in which you were able to anticipate the need for a new approach? What did you do about it? Sample Questions to Ask Employers • What motivates you in your work here at _______________________ ? • How would you describe communcation with leadership within the organization? Are entry-level employees encouraged to interact with leadership or only through defined channels? • How does your organization show that it values its employees? • What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses when compared to other companies in the market? • How will my work be measured and evaluated? How often will this take place? • How have other entry level employees (or interns) significantly contributed to your organzation? Duke Career Center • • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708
  3. 3. Duke Career Center • • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708 Action Steps In order to apply what I have learned in today’s workshop, I will: 1. 2. 3. More Sample Interview Questions • What is one of the most difficult writing assignments you’ve had? Explain. • Tell me about one or two presentations that you’ve given to your superiors or peers. • Have you ever communicated in a high stakes situation? What happened? • Give me an example of how you successfully handle multiple demands. • Tell me about a time when you had to do something different than you expected, planned or usually do. What was it? What did you do? • Tell me about a time when you were accountable for the completion and success of a very important task. How satisfied/dissatisfied were you with that? Why? • Tell me about a time when you had difficult goals in your work. How satisfied/dissatisfied were you with that? Why? • Tell me about a time when you worked on a low-profile assignment for which you did not receive a lot of attention from others. How satisfied/dissatisfied were you with that? Why? • How do you decide what gets top priority when scheduling your time? • What do you do when your schedule is suddenly interrupted? Give me an example. • Tell me about a time when you had to request help or assistance on a project because it turned out to be more that you could handle by yourself? • What is the most difficult business decision you have had to make? What factors did you consider when making that decision? Sample Interview Questions, cont.
  4. 4. The STAR Method STAR is formula for creating your best response to behavioral-based questions. Interviewers expect you to present your thoughts and experience in this manner. Don’t worry, however. You’ll see that the STAR method is no different than the basics of any story composition. “Last semester I took a psychology course that required a group project to examine motivation. The professor assigned each student to a 4-person group. My group decided to look at what motivates college students to participate in community service activities.” Question: Tell me about a time when you had to provide difficult feedback to a team member? “As a group, we developed a plan to distribute the work between us. However, after the first few weeks, it became apparent that one of our team members was not completing her part of the project and she missed one of our group meetings. The rest of the team decided that we needed to reengage her.” “I took the initiative to set up a meeting with her where we discussed our interest in the project as well as the other academic responsibilities. After talking with her, it was clear that if we changed her contributions to tasks that better fit her skills and interests, she would most likely contribute at a higher level.” “It turned out that the team could redistribute tasks without compromising so every member got to work on the pieces of the project that were of most interest to them. In the end, we completed the project and received positive feedback from our professor.” S T A R Situation Set the scenario for your example. Task Describe the specific challenge or task that relates to the question. Action Talk about the actions that you took to accomplish the task. Result Present the results that followed because of the chosen action. • A strong STAR response will last one to two minutes. • Be brief in your set-up. Give just enough background or contextual information for your story to make sense. • The result is critical. Everything in your example builds towards this component. • Use the structure of the acronym for direction if you forget what you were saying. If all else fails, skil to the R, result. A few important tips: Duke Career Center • • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708
  5. 5. Duke Career Center • • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708 Organizing Your Experience Skill, Experience or Characteristic Name of Story Situation Task Action Result Leadership Ability to Work in Teams Analytical Skills Adaptability Apply the STAR Method by using this chart to recall specific experiences that will better support your responses in an interview. Star Method, cont.
  6. 6. Duke Career Center • • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708 Resources for Sample Cases: • Management Consulting Case Interviews: • Capital One: • McKinsey: • Novantas: • Boston Consulting Group: • L.E.K. Consulting: • Crack the Case: How to Conquer Your Case Interviews, David Ohrvall • Case in Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation, Marc Consentino Problem Solving Interview 1. How many golf balls can fit in a school bus? 2. You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do? 3. How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle? 4. How would you find out if a machine’s stack grows up or down in memory? 5. Explain a database in three sentences to your eight-year-old nephew. 6. How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap? 7. You have to get from point A to point B. You don’t know if you can get there. What would you do? 8. Imagine you have a closet full of shirts. It’s very hard to find a shirt. So what can you do to organize your shirts for easy retrieval? 9. In a country in which people only want boys, every family continues to have children until they have a boy. If they have a girl, they have another child, if they have a boy they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in the country? Sample Questions from GlassDoor Case Interviews Case interviews are used to examine a candidate’s ability to think critically in analyzing a business problem and to provide insights in an articulate way.
  7. 7. Informational Interviewing When you reach out to a potential contact, communicate these three things: 1. Why you are reaching out: What would you like to learn about them? Be brief in your explanation. 2. Why THEY are the best person for you to learn from: What makes them unique in their field? What about their career story intrigues you? 3. What you are asking for: How much time will you need? Do you want to meet in person, or through Skype, or by phone? Offer times to meet, but indicate that you can adjust to their schedule. Ask for 20-30 minutes of their time. Sample Informational Interview Request (Email) Dear Mr. Jones, During a recent search of the Duke Alumni LinkedIn group, I learned you are a graduate of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. LinkedIn also indicates you completed an internship with Bank of America in their Business Analyst program, which you now work for full-time. I am currently a biomedical engineering student interested in learning more about how my skills and experience could apply to business. I have specifically considered the Business Analyst Program with Bank of America and I wanted to ask if you would offer fifteen minutes of your time to discuss your career path and experiences after graduating from Duke. I believe it is important for me to gain a practical, real world perspective about the field of financial services. If you are willing, I would appreciate the opportunity to learn from you either over the phone or in person. Sincerely, Jennifer Engineering Sample Thank You Note (Follow-Up) Dear Mr. Jones, Thank you for the opportunity last week to learn about your experiences at Duke and with Bank of America. I found our discussion about career paths to be extremely insightful as I set out on my own career search. Your detailed information concerning the Business Analyst Program at Bank of America was very helpful and I plan to apply for the position when it opens next month. I appreciated the time you took to meet with me. As discussed, I have attached my resume for your review. Thank you for offering to review it. Kind Regards, Jennifer Engineering Duke Career Center • • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708
  8. 8. Sample Informational Interview Questions Biographical Information • How did you get started in this field? • What was your educational background? Career Exploration • What are your major responsibilities? • What is the most/least rewarding aspect of your job? • Would you choose this career again? • What is a typical day like, or what does an average work week involve? • What is the most common career path? • What obligations does your work put on you outside of the actual job? • What are some lifestyle considerations for this career field? • What are some common entry-level positions in the field of _____? • What kind of salary range and benefits could an entry level position expect to receive? • What kind of individual (skills/personality) would be best suited for these entry-level positions? • What types of people typically do well in this field? • What are the most important factors used when hiring? • What is the best educational preparation for a career in this field? • Which classes and experience would be most helpful to obtain while still in college? • How high is turnover? • How does one move or advance within the organization? Job Search and Industry Knowledge • How do people find out about open positions in this field? • What types of skills and experience should I emphasize on my CV or resume? • What is the future outlook for this career? • What are areas for potential growth/decline? • How do you see jobs changing in the future? • Which professional journals/organizations would be most helpful in evaluating the field? • Who else do you recommend I talk with, and may I have permission to use your name? • Can you recommend other types of organizations I might investigate or contact? TIP: If you know the answers to the first few questions because you did your research, indicate that to the professional you are interviewing! Duke Career Center • • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708 Informational Interviewing, cont.
  9. 9. Developing a 30-Second Commercial What is it? One of the keys to successful interviewing and networking is to make a really strong first impression, and one of the first opportunities to make this impression is very often the result of responding to the question “Tell me about yourself.” The answer: your personal “commercial.” It is essentially an overview of your experience, skills, strengths, accomplishments and goals – all in 30 seconds! When will I use it? You will use your 30-second commercial throughout your professional life. Some of the situations where you will be able to use it now are: • At an interview • In a cover letter –to highlight your background and key abilities. • At professional networking events – when you are asked to introduce yourself. • In cold calling employers for a co-op or future job. • When introducing yourself to a potential employer at a career fair. What should I include in my 30-second commercial? The structure of a 30 second commercial generally follows this pattern: 1. Introduce yourself, as appropriate. 2. Discuss your “experience.” As a student, this would include your major field of study. If you have practical experience in the field you could include that as well. 3. State a strength or skill the employer would be interested in. 4. Follow that with an accomplishment (or two) that proves you have that skill. It can be related to school, work, a volunteer experience, an activity (like Eagle Scout), etc. 5. Describe your employment goal—what are you looking for now and/or in the future? 6. Most importantly, tell how you can immediately benefit the company. What should I keep in mind about developing my 30-second commercial? Practice, practice, practice!!! Your 30-second commercial should be conversational and natural. Although prepared in advance, it should never sound memorized. You want to appear confident, enthusiastic, poised and professional. Make it memorable but not outrageous. You are competing with many other qualified candidates and your commercial should allow you to stand out a bit from the crowd. Whether it is the vocabulary you choose or a specific achievement you mention, you want to engage the listener and give them an opportunity to see your personality. Be prepared for follow-up questions, especially in an interview. You may be asked for more information or to elaborate on something you said, which will keep the conversation going. Part of your strategy is to develop a rapport with the interviewer/employer and a good commercial and follow-up will help to set a positive tone. Vary your closing to fit the circumstances. For an interview focusing on how you can benefit the company or how you fit the particular position is appropriate. At a networking event or Career Fair you want to be proactive and may want to consider an action question – “May I send you a resume?” or “May I have your business card and contact you …” Duke Career Center • • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708
  10. 10. Duke Career Center • • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708 Questions to Think about in Developing your 30-Second Elevator Pitch : 1. What is your career goal? (usually in the form of doing something for someone) ___________________________________________________________________ 2. What skill or strength do you have that would help you realize that goal? ____________________________________________________________________ 3. What accomplishment proves you have that skill or strength? ____________________________________________________________________ 4. What are you searching for in a job? ____________________________________________________________________ 5. How can you immediately benefit the company/organization? ____________________________________________________________________ Here’s ONE example framework to get you started on your 30-second Elevator Pitch: NOTE : THIS IS NOT THE ONLY WAY TO CRAFT YOUR PITCH!!! Hello, [__________________], my name is _______________. I am a [class year] here at Duke majoring in __________. I am [strength, experience, etc.], which I demonstrated when I [accomplishment] and I think my experience in [what?] has equipped me to succeed as a [what position?] at [company or organization]. Could you please tell me about the characteristics of successful entry-level [position] at your company? Write a draft of your 30-second “elevator pitch” here: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Developing a 30-Second Commercial , cont.
  11. 11. Additional Documents Cover Letter Curriculum Vitae Internships Interviewing Job Search Networking Resume Additional Resources Career Center Skills Guides Cover Letter Skills Guide Curriculum Vitae Skills Guide Internships Skills Guide Interviewing Skills Guide Networking Skills Guide Resume Skills Guide Strategic Search Skills Guide Duke Career Center • • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708