The purpose of an interview is two-fold: to market your skills and relevant experience to the interviewer and to evaluate the organization's appropriateness for you. You accomplish this by showing the interviewer that you have the ability, communication skills, personality, growth potential, maturity, and intelligence to do a good job for that organization.
For many, the interview causes some degree of nervousness. This is normal; however, excessive nervousness may work against you. Others approach interviews with little enthusiasm and virtually no preparation. A laissez-faire attitude can be just as detrimental as excessive panic. You should not schedule interviews with organizations “just for practice.”
The key to answering this or any other interview question is to offer a response that supports your career objective. The challenge is to keep your answer short (about 1 minute) and focused.
An interviewer often asks this question to find out if you are the kind of person who will fit in well with his/her company. You do not want to give the interviewer a long biography of your life that has nothing to do with your skills and achievements. The whole point of the interview is to show that you are the right person for the job.
You may choose to tell a story that relates the origin of your interest in the career field. Another approach is to connect the personal characteristics, goals and events that motivated you to pursue this opportunity. You may also want to mention what you are really passionate about related to your career and how you might bring this passion to the company once hired.
Show the interviewer that you have thought about your career path and researched in-depth the industry that you are pursuing. Show the “fit” between yourself and the industry. How do your talents complement the industry? What about the industry interests you? Discuss any industry-related experiences that you have had and how they have confirmed your interest.
Show the interviewer your interest in the company. Share what you learned about the job and the company through your own research. Talk about how your professional skills will benefit the company.
If you have sufficiently researched the organization, you should be able to imagine what skills the company values. List them, and then give examples where you have demonstrated these skills.
Everyone has weaknesses, but the interviewer wants to know if you have any weaknesses that will prevent you from doing the particular job well. Discuss with the interviewer a weakness that you feel you have developed strategies to overcome. For example, if you don’t like making cold calls, tell the interviewer about the phone scripts you wrote that helped you to overcome this fear. Always reassure the employer that you are confident that you can either work with or overcome the weakness.
The interviewer wants to know if your plans and the company's goals are compatible. Let him know that you are ambitious enough to plan ahead. Talk about your desire to learn more and improve your performance, and be as specific as possible about how you will meet the goals you have set for yourself
The interviewer may be looking for evidence of your job skills outside of your professional experience. For example, hobbies such as chess or bridge demonstrate analytical skills. Reading, music, and painting are creative hobbies. Individual sports show determination and stamina, while group sport activities may indicate you are comfortable working as part of a team. Also, the interviewer might simply be curious as to whether you have a life outside of work. Employees who have creative or athletic outlets for their stress are often healthier, happier and more productive.
The interviewer is interested in hearing you describe your coping skills. Think of a time you had difficulty either at school or in a career-related experience and describe it. Talk about the effective ways you handled the issue. Never speak negatively about a professor, boss or fellow student.
Always ask two or three questions and have more prepared in advance. This is your opportunity to learn more about the employer and to demonstrate your interest in the position available. Consider asking questions about the company culture, evaluation processes, current issues the industry is facing and/or other questions that relate to the job specifically or the organization as a whole.
The interview is not the time to ask questions about salary, benefits, hours or vacation. This information may be critical for you in making your decision, but wait until you have been offered the job before asking about them.
We encourage you to have at least one mock interview prior to your actual interview.
These may be scheduled through the Career Center by calling 859-4346.
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