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Get Ready for Your Interview

Congratulations! You landed the interview. Your hard work is paying off.

CFCC Career Development professionals are available to help you prepare for your interview, but here are some resources you may explore as well.

The primary goal of an interview is for employers to assess if an applicant has the skills to perform a job.  In addition, they are trying to determine if applicants can work well with their team, in their environment.  From the moment you arrive, you are being assessed. They are paying attention to the following:

  • Did you arrive on time?
  • Are you dressed appropriately for the interview?
  • Do you make eye contact with those you’re talking with?
  • Do you present with confidence?
  • Did you research information about the company and/or the position to which you’ve applied?
  • Can you respond to questions directly and concisely?
  • Did you follow up the interview with a written “thank you?”

Consistently, employers across the country indicate they are seeking candidates with the following competencies.  Reflect on your academic and work experience.  Consider how you’ve learned or refined some of these by successfully completing courses at CFCC.

  1. Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
  2. Oral/Written Communication
  3. Teamwork/Collaboration
  4. Digital Technology
  5. Leadership
  6. Professional/Work Ethic
  7. Career Management
  8. Global/Intercultural Fluency

What’s a Behavioral Interview? Employers can read your resume. Now they want to know what would you do, or how would you handle specific situations.  The STAR method, often used in behavioral questioning, stands for “Situation, Task, Action, Results.” It is often used to gain insights about potential employees. Interview questions using the STAR method urge candidates to tell a linear story, focusing on a specific situation and providing details regarding tasks, actions you personally took/or would take and results. Remember, results don’t always have to have positive outcomes.  We learn from every experience.

Video Interviewing….how to prepare?  Just because you’re not sitting with someone in person doesn’t mean you’re less prepared.  In fact, there’s more to do!  Practice recording yourself informally and keep the following in mind:

  • Prepare yourself ahead of time.  Do your research on the company!
  • Check the technical equipment and test the sound.
  • De-clutter your space and minimize distractions.
  • Dress appropriately.  I know it’s tempting to be concerned with only what they’ll see…but you’ll feel and potentially perform better if you dress from head to toe.
  • Look directly at the camera….as if you’re making eye contact with someone in person.
  • Pay attention to your body language, facial expressions and overall appearance.
  • Write down a list of questions for the Interviewer (ahead of time) and have paper/pen in front of you for notes.

When there’s more than one at the table…Group Interviews!  These can go both ways.  You may be part of a group of candidates interviewing for a position or you may be interviewed by a group of employees you’d potentially be working with.  Either way, be ready.

  • Prepare yourself ahead of time.  Do your research on the company!
  • Arrive early – 15-30 minutes of scheduled interview.
  • Have a “self-introduction” prepared.
  • Listen carefully as others are speaking.
  • Answer first every once in a while, allowing others to do the same.
  • Be supportive of other candidates responses when appropriate.
  • Smile, watch your posture and respond positively with non-verbal language.
  • Ask questions that are appropriate and thoughtful.
  • Thank your interviewers and shake hands with other candidates…leaving on a positive note.
  • Send a “thank you” note that is specific to your experience.  Who knows, it may get you to round two!

Applying for an IT position?  You may face a  Technical Interview .  Typically, a technical interview consists of two parts:

  • Whiteboarding or coding—In this portion, the candidate is given a problem for which he or she has to whiteboard or code a solution in real-time.
  • Knowledge-based Q&A—During this part, interviewers ask the candidate questions about different theories and more so they can dig deeper into the candidate’s knowledge.

Check these books out!  Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell and Programming Interviews Exposed by John Mongan, Eric Giguere, and Noah Kindler.

Interview-Rubric-NACE :  You can do a self-assessment or use this form during “mock interviews” to identify areas you may need to refine.

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