Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Both sides of the fence: real life interview tips from an experienced student

Today’s advice comes from someone who’s sat in both chairs—that of the interviewee and the interviewer. After being selected from a pool of internship candidates, Helga was then assigned to travel the state and search for new employees, quickly throwing her into the role of an interviewer herself—even though she’d not yet finished college. Based on her summer experiences, here’s what she has to say…..

Don’t Be Afraid…It’s Just an Interview.

As a senior, I can relate to the anxiety and anticipation of wondering what will happen after graduation.  For some, the job search has already begun or will begin soon, but for others it will not begin until after graduation.  Nevertheless, all of us will inevitably have to go through the dreaded process before getting that dream job: the interview process.  I’ve been there numerous times before, and I know how scary it can
Fortunately, this summer I got the opportunity (in an internship that I got through Career Development!) to be on the other side of the interview table.  One of my responsibilities was to recruit and hire employees for various positions (which meant lots and lots of interviews), so I thought it would be nice to share some tips from an interviewer’s perspective,hopefully to help you be more prepared when the challenging process begins.

1. Show up on time.  I know this may sound ridiculous, but showing up on time (the earlier, the better) is so important.  Showing up late for the interview speaks volumes about your punctuality—how can the employer expect you to come to work on time (granted you get the job) if you can’t be on time for the interview?

2.  Practice makes perfect.  Know what you are going to say.  Think about the questions that you would want to ask if you were an employer looking to hire someone, then think of how you would respond to those questions in the event that you are asked them.  Going into an interview unprepared is a death-trap—the person on the other end of the table will be able to tell whether or not you put effort into preparing for this interview.

3. Be real, be honest.  While thinking about how you will answer certain questions, don’t come up with answers that you think the interviewer will want to hear.  Just be honest.  Play up your strengths, let them know what you are good at, but don’t be afraid to let them know that you have weaknesses too. 

4. Use examples. Back your answers up with real-life examples.  Don’t just tell them you are a great team leader, give them an example of when you led a successful team.  Examples are great concrete evidence and will help you stand out from the next person, and chances are the interviewer will better remember you when making that hiring decision.

5. Ask questions.  At the end of the interview, the interviewer will more than likely ask you if you have any questions.  Be sure to take this opportunity: ask him/her what he/she likes about working there; ask about the work environment; ask anything that will make you look interested in the company, not just in whether or not you are offered the position.

With that, I hope you find these tips helpful.  Don’t be afraid; use this time to let yourself shine!



Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 11/08 at 11:50 AM
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