04162010 Interview Preparation


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This is to give overview of Interview Preparation for budding Managers

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  • Introduce yourself. Thank audience for attending Ask how many have interviewed before Ask how their experience with the process was (not necessarily how it turned out, but what they thought of the experience) Let’s move into the agenda for this evening’s presentation.
  • The first thing we’ll be doing is defining what an interview is, and what it’s purpose is Next, we’ll talk about the three P’s which can lead to a successful interview: Preparation, Practice, and Performance. From there, we’ll discuss what to do after the interview We’ll wrap up with my favorite topic: Types of Interviews and/or questions you can expect and how to answer them What questions do you have about the agenda?
  • Before we get started, let me ask you this: We’ve all dealt with sales people, what, to you makes a good salesperson? For the next few slides, I want you to think of yourselves not as ISME students searching for a job, but rather as a good salesperson determined to close a big deal. Are you with me so far? Therefore, the interview is nothing more that your 30 minute sales pitch. And what are you selling? You . Confident/assertive behavior is valued
  • Telephone Screening – used to eliminate candidates based on essential criteria In-Person Screening – used to verify the candidate’s qualifications Information – used to gather information from someone currently working in an you wish to explore Work Sample – allows the applicant to opportunity to “show their wares.” Peer Group – opportunity to meet and talk with co-workers and they evaluate the candidate Consulting – problem posed relevant to the business and look for logical steps to solve
  • Who here has been to a comedy club or seen a stand-up comedian act on TV/Movies? Their act is called Improvisation which is defined as a performance given without planning or preparation. The truth is, the best comedians never give a performance without planning or preparation. Very few are naturals---they have to understand what they’re saying, how they say it, and how respond to the myriad of reactions they get. They do this through hours of practice, and those that practice more, are often funnier and more successful. The same goes for interviews. No matter how well you know yourself and no matter how well your answer may sound in your head, it will inevitably sound different when the words come out your mouth for the first time. Maybe your answer will sound better---but maybe it will sound much worse. Are you willing to take that risk? If not, then practice can make the difference between a very good interview, and a very, very, very bad interview. Think about some of the presentations you’ve witnessed over you time in ISME---you probably can remember some really bad ones, where it was clear they did not practice. They may have known the subject or material well, but just couldn’t get the words out right. Don’t let that happen to you in the interview---practice! Here are some tips: Do some research on typical interview questions. While the questions you get in your own interview may be different, chances are they are a slight modification, but are after the same information. Do a mock interview. These are often offered by career services, and often times employers will offer their time on campus to conduct them. Use your friends, roommates, etc. Have them ask you questions about yourself, your experiences, and your knowledge about the companies you are interviewing with. Choose people you trust that will give it to you straight. Make sure they are noting your tone, your delivery, your clarity, and your non-verbal behavior. Do you fidget? Do you say “um” a lot? Do you ramble on? Only practice will tell. What questions do you have about Practicing your interview?
  • Once the interview is over, pat yourself on the back and relax. However, make sure to take some mental (and written, if you prefer) notes about how you did, and how you can do better the next time you interview. Remember the comedians---every show is a learning experience for them, and they constantly fine-tune their act to get the most laughs out of the audience. Send a thank you note. This is an important step, and it takes a couple of minutes. Email is acceptable these days. Try to reference something from your discussion, and use the thank you card as another opportunity to sell your strengths. Now, often times the interviewer will set expectations as to when you’ll hear back. If that time passes and you haven’t heard anything, feel free at that time to follow-up. But be patient---college recruiters and interviews are often on the road weeks at a time, and can’t always get feedback as quickly as they’d like. Make sure not to harass the interviewer until the pre-set feedback time has passed. In general, wait a minimum of two weeks. What questions do you have about post-interview procedures?
  • I’d like to transition into my favorite part of the presentation and discuss the different types of interviews and interview questions out there. These are the five main categories to share, but keep in mind that these types are not necessarily mutually exclusive Let’s first discuss the Resume Screen. These are typically questions designed to solicit additional information about what you’ve listed on your resume, including such things as: “ I see you’re president of your fraternity. How did you get that position and what were your major responsibilities?” “ You worked last summer at XYZ corporation. What did you like most about it, and what did you like least about it?” “ I see there’s a gap in your employment history, what were you doing during that time?” If you happen to be asked the question, “tell me about yourself”, try one of the following: Use this as an opportunity to sell yourself. For example: “I know that the position here at XYZ requires excellent communication skills, team orientation, and decision making. I’ve gained valuable experience in these areas during my time at _____, and am happy to share some examples”. Or, make a procedural suggestion such as “how about I start with why I chose to come to this University, and what I’ve done to prepare myself for the working world”. This way, you create focus for a very broad, get-to-know-you type of question. The next type of question or interview is the High Stress . These questions are typically designed to see how you react under pressure. The are often confrontational, condescending, and will catch you off-guard. For example: “ So I notice you have no activities on your resume? What have you done with your time besides study?” “ You said you didn’t confront the poor performer in your group. Why on earth would you choose to do nothing?” “ Am I making you uncomfortable? You seem very nervous.” First and foremost, keep your cool . Know that you are being evaluated not on your answer per se, but on how you react and how you answer. Although these questions are hard to anticipate, the best preparation is to do a thorough self-evaluation so you know why you’ve done the things you done and can defend them. “ I realize that I don’t have many outside activities on my resume. Each semester I have taken more credits than required, and to compensate I’ve gotten heavily involved with group projects, taking the lead role to gain valuable teamwork and leadership experience which I’d be happy to share with you.” “ That’s a good question---I didn’t confront the poor performer because I felt that by doing so, I’d affect the cohesiveness of the other group members which was very strong. In the end it worked out because the person left the group for personal reasons.” “ I’m comfortable, but thank you for asking.” The next type of interview is Behavioral . The concept for this style of interviewing is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Therefore, in this style of interviewing, you can expect the interviewer to ask you about events from your past. They’ll focus on understanding the situation and the action/(s) taken, and then the outcome. They are easily recognizable because they ask you for specific examples from your personal experiences. “ Tell me about a time when…..” “ What is the biggest event you’ve ever planned?” “ Tell me about a difficult decision you’ve made recently?” “ Give me an example from your experience as an athlete that demonstrates your leadership?” Because these types of questions are the most prevalent today, we’ll go into more depth on the next slide. The fourth type of question is the Case Study or Targeted Simulation . These questions are primarily designed to measure you’re problem solving ability. “ Give me a sales pitch for the tie you’re wearing---convince me to buy one” “ If in this position, how would you handle an irate customer who knew very little English?” These questions are typically “would” questions, and determine how you think on your feet. To prepare, take some time to understand your approach to problem solving, and do some research on the corporate culture: Does the company encourage risk taking, or are they conservative with their decision making? Do they value strong analytical problem solvers, or favor creativity and exploration? The last type of questions you might get are the Abstract. “ If you were a tree, what kind would you be and why?” “ Describe a mountain range to me without using your hands.” “ If you could paint the sky a different color, what would it be and why?” These questions are often designed to probe your creative side, determine if you are a conventional thinker or an outside-the-box type. Don’t avoid answering the question. There’s not really a right answer to them, but they do tell the interviewer about your “fit”, so answer honestly. What questions do you have about interview questions?
  • 04162010 Interview Preparation

    1. 1. Interview Preparation Eshant Mishra
    2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>What is an Interview? </li></ul><ul><li>Before, During, and After the Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare, Practice, and Perform </li></ul><ul><li>Types of Interviews/Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Wrap up Discussion </li></ul>04/16/10
    3. 3. What is an Interview? <ul><li>30-45 minute sales pitch of “You, Inc” </li></ul><ul><li>Determining fit within an organization </li></ul><ul><li>Your chance to determine if you want to work at the organization/ with the people/ in this function, They may or may not have a job opening at the time you interview with them </li></ul>04/16/10
    4. 4. Types of Interviews <ul><li>Information Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Telephone Screening </li></ul><ul><li>In-Person Screening </li></ul><ul><li>Selection Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Peer Group Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Behavioral Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Consulting and Case Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Video Interview </li></ul>04/16/10
    5. 5. Before the Interview <ul><li>Research the company </li></ul><ul><li>Determine location of interview – or prepare for a phone interview </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare your attire </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure your resume is ready for further inspection </li></ul>04/16/10
    6. 6. Preparation <ul><li>Know Your Product (a.k.a. YOU) </li></ul><ul><li>Complete a Self-Assessment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SWOT, academic performance, career interests, personal goals, work experiences, and special skills </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Know what you have written in your Resume </li></ul><ul><li>Know how your qualifications can benefit the employer (match them to the job description) </li></ul>04/16/10
    7. 7. Preparation <ul><li>Know your customer, services, etc… </li></ul><ul><li>Read employer literature & visit the organization’s website </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare questions to ask the interviewer </li></ul><ul><li>Speak with alumni(College/Organization) to better understand the expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Research and set your salary range </li></ul>04/16/10
    8. 8. Practice <ul><li>Practice! Practice!! Practice!!! </li></ul><ul><li>Practice with friends, in front of a mirror, in washroom, or write out answers to anticipated questions </li></ul><ul><li>No matter how well you know yourself and no matter how well your answer may sound in your head, it will inevitably sound different when the words come out your mouth for the first time. </li></ul>04/16/10
    9. 9. Stress Only a fool would tell you that looking for a job isn’t stressful. And it would take an even bigger fool to tell you that interviews will not produce stress. After all, you’re in an unfamiliar setting, meeting strangers, risking your ego, and about to embark on a conversation that can affect the rest of your life. 04/16/10
    10. 10. Perform <ul><li>Be alert, friendly, and courteous </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain good eye contact </li></ul><ul><li>Be positive about yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Be confident, but not cocky </li></ul><ul><li>Act natural and be yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Be honest </li></ul><ul><li>Send the right behavioral signals </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate carefully </li></ul><ul><li>Participate, don’t dominate </li></ul><ul><li>Be enthusiastic </li></ul><ul><li>Sell yourself and your strengths </li></ul>04/16/10
    11. 11. Perform <ul><li>Be conscious of your personal grooming </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your goal is to look professional! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your goal is not to look trendy or hip </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Business Attire vs. Business Casual </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know the organization’s culture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Arrive on time – or ten minutes early </li></ul><ul><li>First impression in not the last impression </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t let them doubt your interest in the position </li></ul>04/16/10
    12. 12. Decisions are made early! <ul><li>Usually within the first 5 minutes! </li></ul><ul><li>You must IMMEDIATELY convey confidence (attire, handshake, eye contact, body language is important!) </li></ul><ul><li>STRONG START, STRONG END! </li></ul>04/16/10
    13. 13. After the Interview <ul><li>Relax, but learn from the experience </li></ul><ul><li>Keep a log </li></ul><ul><li>Send a Thank You note </li></ul><ul><li>Stay in pursuit - follow up with the recruiter </li></ul><ul><li>Be patient </li></ul>04/16/10
    14. 14. Interview Questions <ul><li>The questions are about you, so don’t get caught up with stories about other people or extraneous details </li></ul><ul><li>You are the expert on yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Open-ended beginnings are your opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>There is a perfect answer to the salary question </li></ul><ul><li>Be ready for inappropriate questions </li></ul><ul><li>Technical questions might arise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know your resources for determining these ahead of time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prepare a few questions of your own </li></ul>04/16/10
    15. 15. Types of Interview Questions <ul><li>Tell Me About Yourself (a.k.a. Resume Screen) </li></ul><ul><li>Why haven’t you…? (a.k.a. “High Stress”) </li></ul><ul><li>What have you done..? (a.k.a. Behavioral Interviewing) </li></ul><ul><li>What would you do? (a.k.a. Case/Simulation) </li></ul><ul><li>What the #@!*& ….? (a.k.a. Abstract) </li></ul><ul><li>What interview situations have you been in? </li></ul><ul><li>What strange or hard questions have you been asked in an interview? </li></ul>04/16/10
    16. 16. Typical Interview Questions <ul><li>Tell me about yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Why are interested in this position/ organization? </li></ul><ul><li>What attracted you to this field? </li></ul><ul><li>Tell me about your work experience/experience </li></ul><ul><li>What qualifies you for this position? </li></ul><ul><li>What are you strengths? What is your greatest weakness? </li></ul><ul><li>Where do you see yourself in five, ten years? </li></ul>04/16/10
    17. 17. Behavioral Questions <ul><li>Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead </li></ul><ul><li>Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker. </li></ul>04/16/10 What skills or experiences is the interviewer trying to extract from you when they ask you these two questions?
    18. 18. Core competencies that employers want to see evidence of: <ul><li>Decision making and problem solving </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Planning and Organization </li></ul><ul><li>Critical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Team building </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to influence others </li></ul><ul><li>Interpersonal skills </li></ul>04/16/10
    19. 19. Examples of Behavioral Questions <ul><li>Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way. </li></ul><ul><li>Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem. </li></ul><ul><li>Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it. </li></ul><ul><li>Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree. </li></ul><ul><li>Please discuss an important written document you were required to complete. </li></ul><ul><li>Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done. </li></ul><ul><li>Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were able to prioritize your tasks. </li></ul><ul><li>Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa). </li></ul><ul><li>Tell me about a difficult decision you've made in the last year. </li></ul><ul><li>Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish and failed. </li></ul><ul><li>Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead. </li></ul><ul><li>Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem. </li></ul><ul><li>Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision. </li></ul>04/16/10
    20. 20. Bizarre Interview Questions <ul><li>What is the height of the Empire State Building as measured by a stack of quarters? Now, what is the dollar value of those quarters? </li></ul><ul><li>Why are beer or soda cans tapered at the top and bottom? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do mirrors reverse right and left instead of up and down? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>HINT– interviewers aren’t looking for the right answer, but rather your thought process, problem solving, analytical skills and creativity! </li></ul></ul>04/16/10
    21. 21. Inappropriate Interview Questions <ul><li>What is your personality type? </li></ul><ul><li>When is your birthday? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you married? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have children? </li></ul><ul><li>What is your religion? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you a US citizen? </li></ul>04/16/10 <ul><li>Your Options: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Answer the question </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Answer the &quot;intent&quot; of the question </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Try to change the topic or ask for a new question or move on. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If you don’t answer the question, you might not get the job… </li></ul><ul><li>Most interviewers do not discriminate intentionally, but are ignorant of the law </li></ul>
    22. 22. QUESTIONS? Contact Information: [email_address] 04/16/10