The Interview topic is in the air! Right after I decided to focus on job interviews for this part of my blog series, I discovered that “My Career Advisor Blog” has two recent blogs on the same topic! But it won’t stop me! The more interview tips AU students can learn , the better their chances are to get these jobs! From my perspective, I would like to ponder employer’s expectations and interviewee’s winning attitudes and strategies.
As a career advisor, I often see students stressing about the best way to study for possible interview questions and the “right” answers as if they are preparing for a school test. But the job interview is not your school test. School tests are all about YOU as they assess your subject-related knowledge and skills. Job interviews are all about THEM – your prospective employers, who hope to determine whether their organizations/companies can benefit from your abilities and personality traits. So, job interviews are more about figuring out how you can HELP employers function, grow, and successfully compete (for grants/investments, markets, or influence) rather than judging who you are and what you know.
My tip #1: Try to develop a helpful attitude towards your prospective employer and show it at your job interview. To do that:
- Learn more about the organization and about its needs (as related to its mission, services/product, environment, competitors, etc.)
- Reflect how your knowledge and experience can be useful to meet these needs
- Practice explaining your usefulness referring to your knowledge, skills, and experience, and
- Come to the interview prepared to be engaged in the conversation not only by talking but also LISTENING actively.
Keep in mind that by inviting you to a job interview, your prospective employer has expressed its satisfaction with the level of your academic preparation, experience, and interest in the position. Now, the employer would like to figure out whether your thinking process and problem solving abilities fit the needs of the organization. The employer may want to give you problems, cases, or scenarios to see if your analytical skills and your logical reasoning are sufficient for the job. To check this, they would like you to “think out loud.”
My Tip #2: Practice thinking out loud but also learn how to think to yourself before “thinking out loud” in order to organize your thoughts. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions is also part of a good thinking process. The employer would like to see if you are capable of identifying missing information. Also, don’t be afraid to be creative and thinking out-of-of the box at the job interview. Most employers welcome creativity and unorthodox approaches.
The employer would like to hire a person who will fit the culture of the organization. At the job interview, the employer may ask you to talk about your behavior in situations that could be indicative to certain personal characteristics that represent the cultural fit, or misfit.
My Tip #3: Many job descriptions nowadays describe, to some extent, the organization’s culture. Review job descriptions carefully and also research organizations on Careerbliss.com or Glassdoor.com, or through social media (following organizations on Twitter and Facebook). Come up with several stories based on your life/school/work experience to illustrate such characteristics. Also, don’t forget that employers are people and they want to hire likable people. Be nice, respectful, engaged, and smile! Get Hired!