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Effective Interviewing Opening Day 09 16 10

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Effective Interviewing Opening Day 09 16 10

  1. 1. Effective Tips for Interviewing Miriam Lamb Human Resources Foothill-De Anza CCD
  2. 2. Purpose of an Interview
  3. 3. For The Candidate, The Interview Is Used To… <ul><li>Demonstrate strong communication and interpersonal skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Expand upon relevant information in one’s resume. </li></ul><ul><li>Gather additional information about the organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Get a feel for whether or not this employment opportunity is a good match. </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Employer Uses the Interview To… <ul><li>Evaluate your ability to express yourself. </li></ul><ul><li>Share additional information about the organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Gain further information about your skills, related experience or knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn about your interest in the organization and the position. </li></ul><ul><li>Determine if you are a good match – Do you fit? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Interview Preparation
  6. 6. Learn As Much As You Can About the Employer <ul><li>Approximate number of employees </li></ul><ul><li>Products and/or services </li></ul><ul><li>Types of clients </li></ul><ul><li>Growth and financial stability </li></ul><ul><li>Competition </li></ul><ul><li>Mission/values/vision statements </li></ul><ul><li>Typical career path </li></ul>
  7. 7. General Preparation <ul><li>Research the job and company. </li></ul><ul><li>Review the job requirements. </li></ul><ul><li>Know your résumé. </li></ul><ul><li>Know where you are going. </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to give behavioral based examples. </li></ul><ul><li>Anticipate questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to sell yourself! </li></ul>
  8. 8. Types of Interviews
  9. 9. Different Types Of Interviews Campus Interviews (FHDA) Informational or Networking A technique used to gather information about a job, a career field or industry. Not for the purpose of asking for a job. Phone Used to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for the job. Can be conducted by an individual or a group, by phone and sometimes by video. Screening A first round interview typical of those one might have at a job fair. Usually 30 – 45 minutes, the same questions are asked of each candidate. Selection (Second) You’ve made the initial cut and are invited onsite to see the setting and meet potential coworkers. Often a half or full day. Travel may be involved. Behavioral A technique based on the premise that one’s future performance can be predicted by exploring past performance in similar situations.
  10. 10. Interviewing at FHDA
  11. 11. Interview Format <ul><li>All interviews at FHDA are conducted by a panel interview for all permanent positions. </li></ul><ul><li>An EO rep will be present at all interviews and for unionized positions, a union rep will be present. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Types of Questions Asked <ul><li>In general, committees at FHDA ask a variety of interview questions such as: </li></ul><ul><li>General </li></ul><ul><li>Hypothetical </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity </li></ul><ul><li>“ How to” </li></ul><ul><li>Behavioral </li></ul><ul><li>You may also be asked to conduct a presentation or do a written exercise. </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Diversity Question <ul><li>Determine how you can contribute to FHDA’s mission to diversity. </li></ul><ul><li>What leadership style would you exhibit which is indicative of your commitment to diversity? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you altered your work style in diverse situations? </li></ul><ul><li>How have you fostered diversity? </li></ul><ul><li>How have you furthered your knowledge about diversity? </li></ul><ul><li>Think of how your experiences with diversity (gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic, religious, sexual orientation, disability) are related to the core competencies of the position. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Etiquette <ul><li>Answer the “tell me about yourself” question as if you don’t know the committee. </li></ul><ul><li>Research the department and job for which you are applying. </li></ul><ul><li>You can send a thank you note, but not any extraneous application materials. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Informational Interviews
  16. 16. Tips for Informational Interviews <ul><li>Gain first handed information on a career field. </li></ul><ul><li>Identify people doing jobs you might like to do. </li></ul><ul><li>Call and request 20 – 30 minutes of their time. </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare questions ahead of time. </li></ul><ul><li>Only take the amount of time that was agreed to upfront. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t ask for employment. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask if you can include them in your network and contact them again when you are ready to start a search. </li></ul><ul><li>Write a thank you note! </li></ul>
  17. 17. Suggested Informational Interview Questions Could you describe a typical work day? Are there seasonal fluctuations in this work? What skills do you use on a day-to-day basis? What parts of the job do you find most challenging? Most enjoyable? How would you describe the organizational culture? What future developments could affect opportunities in this field? Why do people leave this field or company? What would be a reasonable salary range to expect if I entered this field? What is the long term salary potential? What is the typical career path for people in this field? What education and training would you recommend for someone wanting to advance in this field? What qualifications do you seek in a new employee? How does your company compare with others in the industry? Would the work involve any lifestyle changes, such as frequent travel? What are the professional journals or organizations of which I should be aware? Are there other professionals in this field with whom I should speak? When I call, may I use your name? Is there anything else you think I need to know?
  18. 18. Phone Interviews
  19. 19. Tips For Phone Interviews <ul><li>Set up a quiet area and have everything you need. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t script your answers ahead of time, but outline the key points you want to make. </li></ul><ul><li>Put yourself in an interview frame of mind. </li></ul><ul><li>Smile when you respond to questions. </li></ul><ul><li>In the absence of nonverbal cues, test whether you’ve answered the question. </li></ul><ul><li>Do your research on the web or request information ahead of time. </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to ask 2-3 questions about the organization or the position. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Screening Interviews
  21. 21. Screening Interviews <ul><li>Introduction - Icebreaker period </li></ul><ul><li>Body - Interviewers will request specific information about skills, knowledge, abilities and attitudes. </li></ul><ul><li>The Close - Summarize your understanding of the position and why you would be a good fit. Express you sincere interest. </li></ul><ul><li>At the conclusion , make sure you know the next step. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Selection Interviews
  23. 23. Selection Interviews Before you go coordinate your travel plans with the designated contact. Know what the terms are about who pays. If you pay upfront, know the reimbursement policy. Ask for an agenda ahead of your visit. You want to know how your day will be structured. Know all you can about the organization via web, library research, and read the company’s literature. Travel light. Carry on your interview apparel, if possible. You don’t want your suit ending up in another city. Try to plan an early arrival so you have a chance to do a drive by and get your bearings. Find out where the site is in relation to where you are staying. Note nearest parking. Get a good night’s sleep, be rested so you have energy for a full day. Have something to eat prior to going. During the interview, arrive 15 minutes early. Be pleasant with everyone you meet. Appear enthusiastic, ask questions. Salary really shouldn’t come up, but be prepared if it does. Know your worth. Make sure you know the next step. When will you hear? Restate your interest. Upon your return complete any expense reports promptly. Write a thank you note to everyone with whom you spent significant time. Follow up and restate your interest if you haven’t heard by the deadline. Write thank you notes… Was that mentioned already?
  24. 24. Behavioral Interviews
  25. 25. Behavioral Interviewing <ul><li>The premise: The most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation. </li></ul>The interviewer will be probing to determine if you have the key competencies identified for the position.
  26. 26. Sample Behavioral Questions Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way. Tell me about something for which you recently took responsibility that was outside your job description. Describe an instance when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation. Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem. By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments. Give me an example of a recent successful teamwork experience. Describe the most significant or creative presentation which you have had to complete. Tell me about how you addressed a conflict with a coworker.
  27. 27. What are they really asking? <ul><li>Tell me about yourself. </li></ul><ul><li>Be ready for this one because it will come in one form or another. This open-ended question is often asked at the beginning to break the ice. Keep your response related to the job. </li></ul>What are your greatest strengths? You should be able to come up with these fairly easy. Choose 2-3 strengths that relate to the position. “I am very persistent and don’t give up easily. Given the research nature of this position, you’ll be able to count on my tenacity to help us get reliable data to use in our decision making.” What is your greatest weakness? Try to avoid choosing a trait that directly relates to the job. If you tell them you tend to procrastinate then you’re giving them a good reason not to hire you .
  28. 28. Interview Structure
  29. 29. Parts of an Interview <ul><li>Greetings and small talk. </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewer gives details of the position/organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewer asks you questions. </li></ul><ul><li>You ask the interviewer questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Closing: the next steps. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Types of Interview Questions
  31. 31. Types of Interview Questions <ul><li>1. Direct </li></ul><ul><li>2. Non-direct </li></ul><ul><li>3. Behavioral </li></ul><ul><li>4. Hypothetical </li></ul>
  32. 32. Direct Interview Questions <ul><li>These types of questions predetermine the focus of your answer. e.g. “What skills do you have that relate to this position.” </li></ul>
  33. 33. Non-Direct Interview Questions <ul><li>Non-direct questions are general and do not ask for specific information. e.g. “Tell us a bit about yourself.” You determine the focus of your answer. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Behavioral Interview Questions <ul><li>Behavioral questions offer the opportunity to provide examples of past performance that may help determine future performance. </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewers are asking what you did in a particular situation rather than what you would do. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Hypothetical Questions <ul><li>These questions use a problem solving approach to determine your analytical skills and critical thinking abilities. </li></ul><ul><li>These “what if” questions are presented in the form of case examples or problem situations. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Illegal Questions
  37. 37. What Shouldn’t be Asked <ul><li>If asked an illegal question- one related to age, national origin/citizenship, </li></ul><ul><li>marital/family status, social affiliations, disabilities, or military </li></ul><ul><li>services, then you have three choices: </li></ul>You are free to answer the question but you may be giving information that could harm your candidacy. You can refuse to answer an illegal question – that is within your rights. If your response is tactful you might be okay. If you appear confrontational or uncooperative that could prove to be a problem. Two responses: “ Hey, you can’t ask that. That’s an illegal question!” “ If you can explain how that relates to the job duties I would be happy to answer the question.” Examine the question for its intent and respond with an answer that might relate to the job. Example: Q: You look rather slight of build. How tall are you and how much do you weigh? A: If you are concerned about me being able to lift 40 lbs. repeatedly throughout the day, you need not worry. I lift weights on a regular basis and my physical endurance is exceptional.
  38. 38. After The Interview…
  39. 39. After The Interview <ul><li>Inquire about the next step. </li></ul><ul><li>Close with a smile and handshake. </li></ul><ul><li>Send a thank you note to everyone with whom your interviewed. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you have an appropriate outgoing voicemail message and good system for receiving messages. </li></ul>
  40. 40. Questions YOU Ask Candidates are usually given opportunities to ask questions after the interview. Be prepared. Demonstrate your research about the organization. Consider some of these Qs: Would you describe an average day on the job? What caused this position to come open? Who would be my immediate supervisor? Who would I supervise? Would you like to hear about…? (An important quality or experience) What kinds of training and mentoring are available to new hires? Can you give me examples of projects on which I would be working? Please describe the advancement opportunities that might be available to me. What is the typical timeframe for these advancements? How has the company changed in the last 10 years? What growth areas are expected? Is there anything I have spoken about today that needs clarification, or more detail? When will you be making your hiring decision? May I call you?
  41. 41. Be Thankful <ul><li>Stand out from the pack - take the time to write a thank you note to all of the people who spent significant time with you during the interview process. Where do your notes end up? Letters are often channeled to the HR Office. </li></ul>HINTS: Letters may be handwritten – IF you write legibly. Pick business conservative note cards – avoid kittens and bunnies. Dear Mr. Peabody – I truly appreciate the time you spent with me during my interview on Tuesday. It was helpful to hear your perspective on the future of the company and the promising developments coming from R & D. “X” Company is clearly on the move and I would love to be part of this dynamic organization. Please be aware of my continued interest in the management training program. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely, Abby Applicant
  42. 42. Salary Negotiation
  43. 43. “ And what kind of salary did you have in mind ?” <ul><li>ADVICE </li></ul><ul><li>Do your research </li></ul><ul><li>Give a range and then be prepared to live with the lowest end of the range </li></ul><ul><li>Think you should start at the high end? </li></ul><ul><li>POSSIBLE RESPONSES </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’ve investigated salaries for similar </li></ul><ul><li>positions in this geographic region and </li></ul><ul><li>learned that an “X” earn in the range of </li></ul><ul><li>$28,000 to $32,000. </li></ul><ul><li>“ I would like to start in the low $30s.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ My year as an X at XYZ gives me a head </li></ul><ul><li>start in the industry. I had an opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>to participate on a work team…” </li></ul>
  44. 44. Keep These In Your Back Pocket <ul><li>Have a ten-second pitch you would give someone that essentially says, “I HAVE THIS and I WANT THIS.” </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to give your pitch </li></ul><ul><li>any time, anywhere. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Hello. My name is Susan Jones. I have a degree in Sociology and practicum experience with teen addiction programs. I am seeking a position with a youth offender program, one with an emphasis in job skills training. </li></ul><ul><li>When you’re asked, “Tell me a little about yourself,” have a 30-second commercial prepared: </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’ve always been interested in computers. Throughout high school and college I worked as a computer lab tutor. It was a natural step for me to declare computer science as a major. In my first summer after starting college I was employed by the University to assist in a major systems upgrade. After that summer I was given increasingly responsible tasks that culminated in my being assigned as a project leader this past summer. My immediate career goal is to become a systems analyst and working for a state or federal agency is the desired target. </li></ul>
  45. 45. First Impressions Count
  46. 46. Successful Interviewing Skills <ul><li>Making the Best Impression </li></ul><ul><li>Be on Time </li></ul><ul><li>Professional dress </li></ul><ul><li>Good Eye contact </li></ul><ul><li>Smile </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid Fidgeting </li></ul>
  47. 47. Interview Fashion Tips <ul><li>For Men </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional business attire means a dark conservative suit and a long-sleeved white shirt. </li></ul><ul><li>Ties should be silk. Also conservative choice – not the time to prove your individualism. </li></ul><ul><li>If you wear an earring, consider leaving it at home. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure to polish your dress shoes. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the condition of your hands and fingernails – Is it time for a manicure? </li></ul><ul><li>Facial hair should be kept neat and trimmed. </li></ul><ul><li>Go easy on the cologne. </li></ul><ul><li>For Women </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional business attire is a conservative suit or dress. </li></ul><ul><li>Do keep your midriff covered. </li></ul><ul><li>Conservative dress is the key. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid wearing jewelry and makeup that is showy or distracting. That is true for excessively long fingernails. </li></ul><ul><li>Go easy on the cologne. </li></ul><ul><li>Hair should be clean and neatly groomed. </li></ul><ul><li>Shoes polished and coordinated with your suit. </li></ul>
  48. 48. Selling Yourself With a Portfolio
  49. 49. Job Search Portfolio Benefits for a Job Search Demonstrates a high level of preparation for an interview Demonstrates your experiences, skills and abilities in a visual way - Validates what you say about yourself Helps interviewers remember your application The actual process of preparing a portfolio helps us to recall our skills and abilities It Should Look professional Reflect an individual’s actual skills Support information in your resume Be occupationally focused Be easy to update Be easy to review quickly Be able to stand alone without explanation <ul><li>Why Develop a Portfolio? </li></ul><ul><li>To market capabilities in job interviews </li></ul><ul><li>To negotiate promotions </li></ul><ul><li>and raises </li></ul><ul><li>To apply for bonuses, </li></ul><ul><li>scholarships or grants </li></ul><ul><li>To document the quality of </li></ul><ul><li>your professional </li></ul><ul><li>development </li></ul><ul><li>To demonstrate prior </li></ul><ul><li>learning experiences for </li></ul><ul><li>educational credit </li></ul>A collection of materials that demonstrate skills, knowledge and experiences
  50. 50. If You Bring Your Portfolio to the Interview <ul><li>The interviewer leads the interview, the candidate follows. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid forcing the portfolio into the discussion. </li></ul><ul><li>If you get the nod, pull out your file. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be discouraged if they say no. There just may not be enough time. </li></ul><ul><li>You can prepare high quality copies to leave – Never leave your original portfolio. </li></ul>
  51. 51. General Interview Reminders
  52. 52. Things To Keep in Mind PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE Practice in front of someone Say what you CAN do, not what you cannot Mention your accomplishments – no one else is going to Strengthen your answers by giving examples Focus answers on how the employer can benefit, not on why this will be good for you Bring extra copies of your resume and distribute as appropriate Don’t be afraid of an awkward silent moment –Take this opportunity to say, “ Would this be a good time for me to discuss X… ?” Talk about half the time, listen about half the time Prepare your questions in advance
  53. 53. Your smile? Your interest and enthusiasm? Your firm handshake and direct eye contact? Your confidence? Delivering the Message
  54. 54. Interviewing Resources <ul><li>NETWORKING </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.linkedin.com/ </li></ul><ul><li>COMPANY SALARIES AND REVIEWS </li></ul><ul><li>www.glassdoor.com </li></ul><ul><li>GENERAL RESOURCES </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.quintcareers.com/intvres.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://jobsearchtech.about.com/od/interview/l/aatp_interview .htm </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.rileyguide.com/interview.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://career-advice.monster.com/job-interview/careers.aspx </li></ul><ul><li>SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.shrm.org/TemplatesTools/Samples/InterviewQuestions/Pages/default.aspx </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.quintcareers.com/interview_question_database/ </li></ul><ul><li>SALARY INFORMATION </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.rileyguide.com/salguides.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://salary.com/ </li></ul>

Notas do Editor

  • Thank you very much Carol. Now I am going to talk about different types of interviews you may encounter while interviewing here at FHDA and other types of interviews you may encounter in other organizations. Informational interviews are interviews that you conduct with other professionals in order to obtain more information about your filed of interest. Phone interviews are used as a screening method by many organizations in order to determine if you can perform the basic qualifications of the position. Many organizations conduct screening interviews, which are first round interviews that have the purpose of determining finalists that will be sent to a second round selection interview. Finally many organizations use behavioral interviewing which emphasizes the importance of past performance and behaviors. These chart is not all encompassing and there are other types of interviews, but these are the most common types which you may encounter.
  • All interviews at FHDA and conducted by a committee consisting of a cross section of employees. All unionized positions also have a union rep resent at interviews. Finally, all positions must have an EO rep present at the interviews. All members of the committee are required to be present at all interviews and all all faculty and administrator positions require a second interview with the College President.
  • While interviewing at Foothill or De Anza, you may be asked a variety of interview questions. For instance, you will probably be asked general interview questions. General interview questions tend to focus on relevant skills, personality-fit, focus, and interest in the employer. Hypothetical questions also may be asked. These types of questions require you to be able to respond to a particular scenario. You also will be asked one or more questions regarding your commitment to diversity. “How to” questions may also be asked, especially with employees who do a lot of hands on work like our facilities and computer staff. Behavioral questions may also be asked, requiring you to describe what you did do in a past situation, rather than what you would do. You may also be asked to prepare a written exercise or presentation as part of the interview.
  • Since commitment to diversity is one of the key components of the district’s mission, it is essential to be able to respond effectively to diversity questions. All committees will ask at least 1 and possibly additional questions regarding diversity. To prepare for diversity questions, it is important to be able to provide examples of how you can contribute to FHDAs mission to diversity. For example, If applying to a leadership position, think of what leadership style you would exhibit which would be indicative of your commitment to diversity. Also think of diverse situations you have encountered in where you have had to alter your normal working style. Think of ways in which you have fostered diversity or implemented initiatives relating to diversity. Also, think of at least 2-3 situations you have been been in with people of different races, socioeconomic groups, religions, sexual orientations, or disabilities, and what you have learned from those situations. Here is an sample answer to the diversity question for someone who is applying to an Outreach position. &amp;quot;My career has been characterized by my ability to work well with diverse teams. I seek out opportunities to involve others in the decision-making process. This includes individuals from various races, individuals with disabilities, and people with different sexual orientations. This collaboration and communication is what has enabled me to achieve success in my department. Both in the campus community and the local community, I have conducted many workshops which have heightened social consciousness about issues relating to race and interracial relations. I believe these workshops have broken down barriers and facilitated communication between various groups. Bringing people together is my personal mission and is an important competency of this position. People are the most valuable resource of any organization.” Notice this answer includes both examples about interpersonal skills and job related duties with very descriptive examples.
  • As you may know some or all of the hiring committee as an internal employee, it is important as you pretend as if they don’t know anything about you, as they may NOT be fully cognizant as to what you do. Be very descriptive on how you meet the essential knowledge, skills, and abilities of the position for which you are applying. Even for internal positions, it is important that you research the department and can clearly articulate why you want the job. Committee members may ask “follow up” questions, so be prepared to provide several specific examples about your work history. Most classified staff positions require one interview, but the committee may chose to conduct a second interview. Finally, you can send a thank you note to the hiring committee chair, but we do not accept extraneous application materials not required for the position.
  • Next we are going to talk about informational interviews. These types of interviews are good for people transitioning into a new field or first time job seekers. They allow you to obtain first handed information on a potential career field. To participate in informational interviewing, you must first locate individuals performing jobs in which you are interested. You can locate these people through various means such as joining professional organizations, “in person” networking groups, or online networking websites. These types of interview questions are usually short in duration, and not done to obtain employment, but rather to obtain information about a job field. They are an excellent way of establishing contacts. After the interview, determine if the person you interview would like to be in your professional network and send them a thank you note.
  • Here are some examples of things you may ask someone during an informational interview.
  • You may also encounter phone interviews if you interview outside the district. In preparation for phone interviews, have everything you need including tissues, a glass of water, company information and something on which to write. Don’t script your answers-you will sound more natural Put yourself in interview frame of mind-dress up Smile it will be reflected in your tone of voice. Stand up too. In absence of non verbal clues-you can ask questions such as: “Would you like more details about X?” “Did I answer your question?” Ask 2-3 questions- (And not about salary or benefits – save those Qs for later!) An example of a question you may be asked during a phone interview is:: Why are you currently searching for a new position? What are the top three duties in the job you now have or in your most recent job? Describe for me your ideal company.
  • Some organizations will do screening interviews to determine if they would like to bring you back for a formal interview. Generally, screening interviews will start out with an Introduction – This is an Icebreaker period where interviewer sets the tone. Be ready, first impressions are really important. During the body of the interview, Interviewers will request specific information about skills, knowledge abilities and attitudes. You will also get a chance to ask a few questions toward the end. At The Close of the interview, - Summarize your understanding of the position and why you would be a good fit. Express you sincere interest. At the conclusion , make sure you know the next step if the interviewer already doesn’t inform you of the next steps. “After talking with you today I continue to be very interested in this position. What’s the next step of the interview process?”
  • After the initial screening interview, companies will usually conduct a second selection interview. Before you go, ensure you do additional research on the company, ask for an agenda for the day, and travel light, if you will be travelling. Address salary only if selected as a finalist. Respond with a thank you note. Keep in mind that selection interviews may be conducted in a variety of formats. Sometimes they may conducted by an individual, other times, you may be interviewed a panel. Other times, you may be interviewed by a series of people. For instance, you may meet with a few people at a time throughout the day.
  • Behavioral interviewing is based on the premise that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation.
  • Here are some examples of behavioral questions. Since behavioral questions are common, in preparation for the interview, review the knowledge skills and abilities of the position and think of previous situations that you have encountered which are related to the core requirements of the position.
  • Be ready for the “tell me about yourself” question because it will come in one form or another. This open-ended question is often asked at the beginning to break the ice. Keep your response related to the job and highlight your most important accomplishments. This is not the time to rattle off your life history. Response time: shoot for two minutes. A good answer for someone applying for work in an entry level computer position may say: I have enjoyed working with computers since I was eight years old and have always been adept as using them.  Throughout junior high and high school, friends and relatives were always asking me for help with their computer problems, so no one was surprised when I chose to major in IT at college.  I spent hundreds of hours at the computer learning everything I could about them and how they worked.  A few years ago I became particularly interested in software development and began formulating ideas for new software that would really help consumers. I even developed plans for a few applications on my own.  [Discuss the plans briefly.]  I&apos;ve also worked on several college teams and as an intern at Acme developing software.  [Offer highlights of work experience in software development.] I would like to continue working in this particular area very much. That&apos;s why I applied for a position with your company.  You&apos;re one of the leaders in software development and I want to work in a company where I can really be challenged and make a difference.  I also really like the products you&apos;ve developed.  I think they&apos;re some of the best on the market and I would very much enjoy working to improve and enhance these products even further and create new software as well.&amp;quot;  To answer a question about your greatest strengths , choose 2-3 strengths that relate to the position. “I am very persistent and don’t give up easily. Given the research nature of this position, you’ll be able to count on my tenacity to help us get reliable data to use in our decision making.” To answer the “greatest weakness “ question, try to avoid choosing a trait that directly relates to the job. Talk about something that is not a core responsibility of the position, and how you will improve your weakness. You could say, “I used to have trouble keeping up with filing, but then I adopted the use office organizational tools and booked 2 hours on my calendar dedicated to filing. This strategy has allowed me to stay on top of filing with no backlogs. Only mention one weakness!
  • Most interviews follow some sort of structure. The interview often starts out with greetings and small talk. Then-(read steps).
  • Now were are going to discuss different types of interview questions you may encounter which include direct, non direct, behavioral, and hypothetical interview questions. This is not an all encompassing list, but some of the most commonly asked types of questions you may be asked.
  • Direct interview questions predetermine the focus of your answer. e.g. “What skills do you have that relate to this position”. Your information should be clear and specific. These types of questions, whether they relate to technical or soft skills, should be easy to answer if you have completed the research on yourself.
  • Non-direct questions are general and do not ask for specific information. e.g. “Tell us a bit about yourself”. You determine the focus of your answer. In response to this particular question, you should briefly summarize approximately four areas: education, experience, skills, and personal attributes. Make your responses relevant to the job you are seeking.
  • As previously mentioned, behavioral questions offer the opportunity to provide examples of past performance that may help determine future performance. Interviewers often ask what you did in a particular situation rather than what you would do. e.g. “Tell us about a time when you displayed good leadership skills.” Your answer could be delivered using the STAR model. S ituation T ask or Problem A ction R esult For example: (S) “While I was working at X company as a shift supervisor, (T) I noticed that the over-all performance of the employees seemed to be declining. (A) I decided in order to try and improve staff performance, I would start leading by example rather than speaking to individual staff members about their performance. (R) As a result of this initiative, the staff on my shift raised their customer service performance and I was rewarded with the Employee of the Month Award.”
  • Hypothetical questions also may be asked, which allow you to use a problem solving approach to determine your analytical skills. An example of a hypothetical question is: What would you do if the priorities on a project you were working on changed suddenly? I would notify everyone working on the project of the changes. I would then want to know why the priorities have changed, and if there is risk of them changing again in the future. I would then meet with everyone involved with a new strategy to address the new priorities.
  • Sometimes employers may ask questions which are not legal. If asked an illegal question, you can respond in a few different ways. You can answer the question, although you may be giving away sensitive information which may harm your candidacy. You can refuse to answer the question, however, if you appear confrontational or uncooperative, keep in mind, this may pose a problem. The best approach is to ask the interviewer to explain how their question pertains to the job duties, before you answer the question. For instance, you may examine the question for its intent, and respond with an answer that might relate to the job (read example). However, if a question is discriminatory or makes you feel uncomfortable, you can simply inform the interviewer that you do not feel comfortable answering the question. You may not get the position, but think about if you would like to work for an employer who doesn’t know proper interview protocol.
  • After the interview, inquire about the next steps if the committee doesn’t provide you with that information. Close with a smile and a firm handshake. As previously discussed, send a professional thank you note. Also have a professional sounded voice message (no music, long messages, or messages with children). Also have a reliable system for receiving messages via e-mail and phone. Also use professional sounding e-mail addresses.
  • Here are some questions you could potentially ask regarding the position for which you are applying. To formulate questions, do your research prior to applying.
  • It is important to “stand out from the pack” - take the time to write a thank you note to all of the people who spent significant time with you during the interview process. That includes those who have written letters or spoken on your behalf. Where do your notes end up? Letters are often channeled to the HR Office. IF you wish– write something unique to each person on the committee. Discuss some aspect about your time together.
  • When interviewing for an organization, do not bring up compensation until the employer makes you an offer. At FHDA, classified staff and administrators are placed on the first step of the salary range of the job classification they are assigned. Faculty are paid in accordance their placement on the Faculty Salary Schedule. However, salary negotiation is done slightly different outside the district. In many organizations, it may be the hiring manger which negotiates with you or they may refer you to HR. Give the employer a salary range based upon the salary research you&apos;ve done up front. Do research salaries in Your field: Look at recent salary surveys, talk to others working in your field, and contact your trade or professional associations to find out what other people are paid for doing the same work. Remember that salaries differ by geographic region. Once you&apos;ve received the offer you don&apos;t need to accept (or reject) it right away. A simple &amp;quot;I need to think it over&amp;quot; can get you an increase in the original offer. You can also give a range, and be prepared to live with the lowest end of the range. Or you can vouch as to why you should start at the highest end of the range based on your experience. Those with more experience can generally hope to earn more money. If you don&apos;t have a lot of experience, be realistic about the salary for which you can ask. Remember money isn’t everything – Remember to calculate the value of benefits including paid sick and vacation leave, retirement savings plans, stock options, training, and professional advancement . The trick is to figure out how much you are willing to compromise and what you will do if your boss doesn&apos;t offer you a salary you find acceptable. You will need to find a balance between remaining flexible so you won’t pass up a good opportunity and not selling yourself short, voluntarily taking employment for which you are overqualified.
  • It is good to have a ten second pitch about yourself and a good answer to the “tell me about yourself” question which you have prepared in advance. The pitch should summarize your experience, interests, and what you are looking for in a position. It is especially handy to have a pitch in networking situations. You should also prepare a “commercial” to be able to tell people about yourself either in a networking situation or an interview. Again, include the same types of things you included in your pitch. You may want to include an interesting tid bit about yourself or some personal qualities you have that would make you an excellent employee. If you describing yourself in a networking situation, be prepared to describe yourself in 30 seconds. In an interview, you can take a few minutes.
  • It is important to make a good first impression as should be timely to the interview, dress professionally, maintain good eye contact, smile, and don’t fidget a lot.
  • Here are some examples of interview fashion tips. When in doubt, ask the interviewer about the dress code, and keep in mind, it is OK to dress a bit dressier than the normal dress code. For instance, if the normal dress code is business casual, you can wear a suit.
  • A portfolio also may enhance you interview. Keep in mind, a good portfolio is also good for other purposes, such as negotiating promotions and raises, applying for scholarships, or grants, documenting the quality of your professional development, and demonstrating learning experiences for educational credit. Make sure your portfolio is professional and grammatically correct. Your portfolio can include such things as training you have completed, reference letters, information about recognition and awards, summaries of projects you are working on, and sample writing samples. If you are in the fine arts field, you can prepare a portfolio with your artwork, photographs, or music.
  • If you bring a portfolio, remember the interviewer leads the interview, the candidate follows. Avoid forcing the portfolio into the discussion, instead say, “I have several examples of my writing skills in the portfolio I brought today. Would you like to take a look?” If you get the nod, pull out your file. Don’t be discouraged if they say no. There just may not be enough time. You can prepare high quality copies to leave – Never leave your original portfolio. Now I am going to turn things over to Carol who discuss general interview reminders.
  • Here are some websites which my be of interest to you to obtain more information about the interviewing process.