Interview Expectations

This is an addition to my previous post on application tips.

Since I’ve been working learning how the internship/co-op process work, I figure I’ll share what I learned with you guys. By no means am I an expert; I am merely writing down my experiences and hopefully someone can benefit from them.

Interview Expectations

Repeating myself, everything I am writing here is just based on the research I have done in the past few days and my personal experience. I am by no means an expert!

Whenever I receive a message telling me that I got an interview, these are the usual steps that I take to prepare for the interview.

1)      Research the company

2)      Customize your resume for each interview

3)      Prepare your answers and questions

4)      Make sure your professional attire is in order

5)      Prepare thank-you notes

Research the Company

This should go without saying but all interviewees must know the company that they are interviewing for. This way, you’ll be prepared to answer the interviewer’s questions and to ask the interviewer questions. In your answers, if you are able to describe how your skill set can specify benefit the company you might score yourself a few more points!

Researching a company does not simply mean spending 30 minutes on their website, it also means following their company on Linkedin (if you don’t have one of these, get them!), Google what the company’s activity, and use social media to learn more about the work culture. Learning all of this information will give you an edge while interviewing. It also doesn’t hurt to research who your interview may be and to build a relationship with the interviewer before the interview.

Here are a few quick links that may be useful: http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interviews/qt/interviewtipcompany.htm

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interviewsnetworking/ss/job-interview_4.htm

Customize Resume

Tailor each resume and cover letter so you target the company’s goals as closely as possible. Remember, your goal is to have your resume stand out so your resume must be golden!

As obvious as it is, there must be no grammatical or spelling errors on your resume. If a potential employer spots such a simple mistake, odds are that you’ll lose the consideration. When in doubt, get a friend to proofread your resume, or even better, get ten friends. Having a clean and perfect resume is one of the many steps that aceing that interview.

In terms of tailoring your resume towards the company, you first need to have a good understanding of the company (which should have been achieved through step 1). In your objective statement, your objective should be geared towards what the company is looking to hire. The content that you include in your resume should be different for different jobs. For example, you should probably include your involvement in that science fair you did during your senior year when applying to an engineering job, but for a camp counseling job, you should probably take that out and replace it with something else.

Please check out these links for addition information:

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2011/01/19/how-to-tailor-your-resume-for-an-employer

Prepare to Answer Questions and to Ask Questions

This is my favorite part of the interview preparation process. Many people say that it is not the best applicant that gets the job, but it is the best prepared applicant. Preparing for questions is going to be the most important part of the interview preparation process because this is how the employer is going to get to know you.

From a few sites, the main three questions recruiters really want to know are:

1)      Can you do the job?

2)      Will you love the job?

3)      Can they tolerate you working the job?

Remember while preparing for the questions, you need to display that you can do and exceed the job, you need to demonstrate passion and excitement for the job, and you also need to be portrayed as a colleague that is well liked. From those three questions stem many more. Divided, there are several types of questions you may be asked:

–          Behavioral Questions

–          Past Experience Questions

–          Qualification Questions

–          Technical Questions

The best way to answer these questions is just to work on them. For myself, I looked up the most asked interview questions online. I answer the most used questions, leaving out the lesser known. I feel that this process is more usual because I am actively reflecting on my values, achievements, and my past. It is more important to be able to talk about yourself through reflection rather than to answer every single question.

That being said, it probably is a good idea to find a friend who will run a mock interview with you.

I would really recommend the site www.glassdoor.com – their users post the questions they were asked by major employers, perhaps you can find it useful. I also use YouTube a lot and learned a lot through the mock interviews conducted.

Remember – use the internet! It’s a great resource!

Professional Attire

Simple – look good. Opinions are usually formed in the first 10 minutes of the interview.

Prepare thank-you notes

Even if it is just a quick email, thank-you notes are very important. It reminds the recruiter of who you are! Sometimes there are just too many applicants it is hard to stand out. Thank-you notes are very very important!

 

So there it is – just a few tips on what to expect from interviews! I have only done a few myself so I am by no means an expert! I have an interview on Friday with KCI and I will be running through these steps myself! If you guys have anything to say please comment!

 

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