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Interviewing Tips...

Preparation is Key to having a successful interview:
   Please review the pre-interview and post-interview tips to improve your interviewing skills and to help you make an informed decision after your interview has been successful

Pre-Interview...

  • Questions
  • Proper Dress
  • Professional Behavior
  • Practice

 Listed below please review the 50 Questions most often asked by employers followed by the 20 questions you could ask your employer:

General questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. What personal goals, other than those related to your occupation, have you established for yourself for the next ten years?
  3. What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
  4. What do you really want to do in life?
  5. What are your short-range and long-range career objectives?
  6. How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
  7. What are the most important rewards you expect in your (business) career?
  8. What do you expect to be earning in five years?
  9. Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?
  10. Which is more important to you, the money or the type of job?
  11. What do you consider your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  12. How would you describe yourself?
  13. What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
  14. How has your college experience prepared you for your career?
  15. Why should I hire you?
  16. What qualifications do you have that makes you think that you will be successful in this environment/setting?
  17. How do you determine or evaluate success?
  18. What do you think it takes to be successful in an organization like ours?
  19. In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to this company?
  20. What qualities should a successful supervisor possess?
  21. Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and those reporting to him or her?
  22. What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?
  23. Describe your most rewarding college experience?
  24. If you were hiring a graduate for this position, what qualities would you look for?
  25. Why / How did you select your college or university?
  26. What led you to choose your field or major?
  27. What college subjects did you like best? Why?
  28. What college subjects did you like least? Why?
  29. If you could do so, how would you plan your academic study differently?
  30. What changes would you make in your college or university? Why?
  31. Do you have plans for continued study? An advanced degree?
  32. Do you think that your grades are a good indication of your academic achievement/ability?
  33. What have you learned from participation in extra-curricular activities?
  34. In what kinds of environments are you most comfortable?
  35. How do you work under pressure?
  36. In what part-time or summer job have you been most interested? Why?
  37. How would you describe the ideal job for you following graduation?
  38. Why did you decide to seek a position with this organization?
  39. What do you know about this organization?
  40. What three things are most important to you in your career/job?
  41. Are you seeking employment in an organization of a certain size? Why?
  42. What criteria are you using to evaluate the organization/employer for which you hope to work?
  43. Do you have a geographical preference? Why?
  44. Will you relocate? Does relocations bother you?
  45. Are you willing to travel?
  46. Are you willing to spend at least six months in training?
  47. Why do you think you might like to live in the community in which the company is located?
  48. Describe a major problem you have encountered and how you successfully dealt with it?
  49. What have you learned from your mistakes?
  50. How do you think a friend or professor who knows you well would describe you?

20 questions:

  1. Why is this position open? Is this position a result of an expansion?
  2. Where might this position lead to within your organization?
  3. What is this job's relationship to other departments?
  4. How does this job and the department relate to the corporate mission?
  5. What do you consider the most important qualification for this job?
  6. Who would I report to?
  7. How often are employee evaluations performed?
  8. What do you see as the strengths of this department?
  9. What is unique about the way this company operates?
  10. What is the corporate policy regarding internal promotions?
  11. How many people in the department have been promoted?
  12. What are the company's goals?
  13. What role would you hope I would play in these goals?
  14. What is the best thing about this organization?
  15. What expansion is planned for this department, facility, etc.?
  16. Does this company have plans for mergers and/or acquisitions?
  17. How do market trends affect company growth and progress?
  18. What are the (5) most important day-to-day responsibilities of this position?
  19. Will I be working as part of a team, on my own?
  20. What is the timetable for filling this position?

Dress Professionally!

 Dress according to the standards of the industry/organization which you should know as a result of your research. Remember, it is always better to be dressed too formally than too casually. Be sure your clothes are clean, pressed and well fitting, and that your shoes are polished. Hair should be neat and businesslike, and your nails should be clean and trimmed. Both men and women are advised to skip the cologne or perfume - (you never know if the person interviewing you will be allergic to the fragrance you are wearing).

Women:
 A professional-looking navy, charcoal gray or black suit with no prints and a white or off-white blouse. Skirts only - although pants are becoming more acceptable it is difficult to know how conservative or liberal a recruiter is going to be - so play it safe and wear a skirt. Shoes should be low-heeled (2inches). Be sure to avoid excess jewelry, make-up or bright finger nail polish.

Men:
 A professional-looking navy blue, navy blue pinstripe, charcoal gray, or black, two piece, single-breasted suit with a white shirt and a conservative (silk) tie. Be sure to shave or carefully groom facial hair!

Professional Behavior...

 Your behavior, preparedness and body language are all things the interviewer will be evaluating you on.

BE ON TIME:
 Know how to get to the interview location and arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. If you have never been there, visit it the day before so you know exactly how to get there, how to access the building and where to park.

WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU:
 A briefcase or leather-bound folder, if you have one. Women should avoid carrying a purse. Don't forget to wear a watch! Before leaving for the interview be sure that you have good directions and the phone numbers and names of the people you will be meeting with. You should also bring the following items:

  • Several (unfolded) copies of your latest resume
  • A "working" pen
  • A list of your professional references
  • Examples of your work, such as writing samples or clippings (taking care not to breach the confidentiality of previous employers)
  • Questions you may want to ask the recruiter

BE FRIENDLY:
 Where possible, greet the interviewer by name and give a firm hand shake. Treat secretaries and other staff that you may come in contact with courteously and professionally.

BE POSITIVE:
 Never criticize others. NEVER!.

BE AWARE OF YOUR BODY LANGUAGE:
 The first minutes of the interview are the most important. A recruiter begins sizing up your potential the instant you walk into the room. Your tone of voice, posture, expressions and re-actions all give clues to your true feelings and attitudes. Be sure to face your interviewer in a relaxed, open and attentive manner. Speak clearly and audibly. Use complete sentences, avoid one word answers and never use slang terms. Most importantly: Be yourself - do not try to be what you are not. Give the interviewer a chance to see that you are both capable and sincere.

BE A GOOD LISTENER:
 Listen carefully to your interviewer. Be alert to non-verbal cues indicating when you should start or stop talking. Do not think about your response while the interviewer is still talking.

Interview Stream...

   Optimal Interview provides students with the opportunity to practice their interviewing skills on their computer utilizing a webcam. You can also choose a text version as well. It also contains valuable information regarding how to prepare for an interview.
   These interviewing sessions can be recorded so that the student can review their performance or so that it can be brought to a Career Counselor for further evaluation and discussion. Click Here to start.

Mock Interview...

 Mock Interviews are taped with a Career Counselor fulfilling the role of the recruiter and asking a series of questions related to your proposed area of interest. The interview is taped so that the Career Counselor can review the tape with you and provide suggestions to improve or to reinforce a solid performance.
 These sessions are more often utilized when a student has an upcoming interview but can be requested at any time. To request a Mock Interview you need to complete a request form at our Main Office Hill 112.

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Post-Interview...

  • Thank You Letter
  • Evaluating Offers
  • Negotiating Salary

Thank You Letter...

 Thank You Letters are essential for getting your name back into the mind of the recruiter and reminding him or her of what was discussed, your keen interest in the position you interviewed for and finally to thank them for the opportunity.

Please review the outline below:
   then refer to this Sample Thank You Letter for further assistance.

Street Address
City, State Zip
Today's Date

Interviewer's Name
Title (if known)
Name of The Organization
Street Address
City, State Zip

Dear Interviewer's Name:

OPENING PARAGRAPH: Remind the interviewer of the position for which you were interviewed, the date of your interview, and the location at which the interview was conducted. Thank them for presenting you with the opportunity to interview.

MIDDLE PARAGRAPH: Affirm your interest in the opening and the organization. Use specific information to emphasize that you have researched the firm in detail and offer your thoughts on how you would fit in and contribute to the organization.

MIDDLE PARAGRAPH: As in your cover letter, highlight one or two of your strongest qualifications and slant them toward the various points that the interviewer considered the most important to the position. Don't be wordy, keep your letter brief and to the point.

CLOSING PARAGRAPH: If appropriate, close your letter with a suggestion for further action:

  • your desire/willingness to have additional interviews
    OR
  • your intention to follow-up with a phone call in another few days to determine the status of your application.

Yours Truly,

(sign your name here!)

Type out your full name

Evaluating Job Offers...

You have an offer!!! After all the hard work you put in an employer has finally offered you a job. Now, what do you do? Should you wait to see if you receive a better offer or do you take the sure thing? Accepting a job offer is a major career decision and thus deserves careful thought and consideration.

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN EVALUATING A JOB OFFER:

  • Draw up a list of your values and goals
  • Compare these values and goals with what the job and organization can provide
  • Are the organization's values consistent with your own values?
  • Is the organization going through any turmoil (legal or ethical problems) that could jeopardize its future (and yours)?
  • Size up the organization
  • Is the company in solid financial shape?
  • Determine how good the offer is
    • Do the actual tasks to be performed daily appeal to you?
    • Are you likely to find this job (and industry, if applicable) challenging after you've been in it for a few months or a year from now?
    • Is the level of responsibility consistent with what you want and need in order to do the job effectively?
    • Are the working conditions reasonably pleasant and conducive to quality work?
    • Do you think that you will enjoy working with your boss and co-workers?
    • Will taking this job oblige you to make any major changes in your lifestyle that could have an impact on the quality of your life?
    • How does this job fit into your overall career plan? Are you moving forward, backward or standing in place with respect to your career goals?
    • How interested are you in the company's business or industry?
    • What are the career prospects in this industry or business likely to be in five years?
    • Is the compensation package high enough to cover your basic monthly expenses?
    • Is the compensation package competitive with what other companies in this field are paying for similar work?
    • How does the package compare to the income you are currently earning or were earning in your last job?
    • Does the benefits package give you adequate health coverage, based on your current needs? What percentage of the benefits package will you be expected to pay for in the event that you are hired?
    • How generous and attractive are the perks?

 If the job gives you the chance to reach your goals and satisfy your important values, then it may be the job for you. Remember, no job is perfect! It is important to position yourself to gain experience and acquire new skills that eventually will lead to that ideal job.

I HAVE MORE THAN ONE JOB OFFER, WHAT DO I DO?

 When you are faced with choosing from several job offers it is important to remain calm and make the decision based on what is the right job for you. It is easy to be influenced by money and the name of the employer, but it is more important to determine which job comes closest to your ideal position. Use the steps above to evaluate each individual offer and use this information to make your decision.
 When the employer contacts you to extend an offer, it is acceptable to let the employer know that you are still interviewing or considering other offers. The employer may give you a time frame to make your decision or may ask you when you will have your decision made. In a few cases, an employer might make you an "exploding offer", which requires a student to choose a job offer within a very short amount of time or face having the offer rescinded. You should try to get an extension. If the employer refuses, please contact the CDC immediately and our staff will help you negotiate an extension or if necessary call the employer for you.
 Please be aware that once you accept a position you should be prepared to fulfill that obligation. It is highly unethical to renege on an offer, and could hurt your employment opportunities later on in your career. You never know who you may re-encounter down the road.

Negotiating Salary...

  Let's face it, salary negotiation is unpleasant! Most job seekers feel anxious, embarrassed and uncomfortable when the time comes to discuss salaries. Advice such as "never bring up the issue of salary, let the interviewer say it first", is rarely helpful if you don't have any idea of how to respond when the topic does come up. This handout is designed to give you some basic information about negotiating salaries and benefits as part of your job search.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW IN ORDER TO NEGOTIATE A SALARY?

  • Determine the market rate salary range for this type of position in this particular industry.
  • Prepare a budget to determine your financial needs.
  • Decide, BEFORE YOU GO INTO AN INTERVIEW, what salary you WANT to earn, what you NEED to live on, and what you will be willing to SETTLE FOR.
  • Be realistic: entry level salaries are less negotiable than salaries for mid-level or executive positions.
  • Practice your salary negotiation skills with a friend, or discuss them with a career counselor during an appointment.
  • Document your skills and accomplishments, and be prepared to talk about them
  • Don't be the first to mention salary during the interview.
  • Never say "I need at least ___ dollars."
  • Don't worry about what your friends are making, the employer certainly isn't.
  • Never lie about your salary history.
  • Relax, it's natural to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing salary.
  • Once you have accepted a job offer and salary level, be sure to get it in writing.

HOW CAN I FIND OUT THE MARKET RATE SALARY RANGE?
 Uncovering salary information is not as difficult as it may seem. Try the following resources:

  • Review the collection of salary survey information in the Career Development Center
  • Use job listings which indicate salaries for related positions
  • Ask your friends and networking contacts
  • Contact professional associations
  • Talk to other job seekers
  • Review business and trade periodicals (i.e., Working Woman magazine publishes an annual salary survey; the Wall Street Journal National Business Employment Weekly publishes salary updates).
  • Check out the on-line salary surveys.

ARE SALARIES REALLY NEGOTIABLE?

 Yes, and no. The degree to which a salary is negotiable depends on the position, the manager, the organization, and your perceived value. Most entry-level positions have set salaries that are subject to very little if any negotiation--perhaps a few hundred dollars of negotiating room. Mid-level positions typically have salary ranges of between 10 and 20 percent (i.e., a job paying $30,000 a year may have a salary range between $27,000 and $33,000).
 Employers will negotiate within a range, but will rarely exceed it unless you are an exceptional candidate. Most state and federal government jobs have rigid, non-negotiable salary scales based on education and experience. In general, the higher level management and executive positions offer the greatest opportunities for negotiation.

INTRODUCTION TO BENEFITS:

 In addition to salary, take into consideration the employee benefit plan when evaluating an offer made by a company. In today's job market many employee benefits are considered standard--they come with the job and are not subject to negotiation. However, an increasing number of employers are offering flexible benefits packages, which allow employees a variety of choices regarding their benefits. Most entry level employees can expect a basic benefits package consisting of:

  • Health Insurance; Dental Insurance; Disability Insurance
  • Life Insurance; Paid vacation time; Paid sick leave
  • Paid holidays

A more comprehensive benefit package might include some or all of the following:

  • Contact professional associations
  • Talk to other job seekers
  • Bonuses; Child and day-care services
  • Company car; Cost-of-living adjustments
  • Desirable office; Education and training programs
  • Expense accounts; Flexible work schedule
  • Maternity/Parental leave; Parking
  • Professional membership dues; Profit sharing plans
  • Relocation expenses; Retirement plans
  • Savings plans; Special equipment (i.e. computer)
  • Stock Options; Supplementary pay plans
  • Termination agreement (severance pay); Unpaid leave time
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