An Interview about Interviews

(Courtesy Photo/Creative Commons)

Last week Dr. Green explained how important resumes are and what to put in them. This week, Dr. Rich Rudebock, Robert L. & Sara Lou Cargill chair and a professor of business, explains the importance of interviews, what to do and what not to do.

Question: How important is an interview in the application process?

Answer: Vital. In my opinion, you should never take a job for which you have not interviewed either in person or through video conferencing. Remember that the interview is a two-way street. They are interviewing you, and you are interviewing them. There has to be a good fit.

Question: How should someone prepare for an interview?

Answer: Research the company (via the company website) as well as the individual (via Linkedin NOT social media) with whom you will be interviewing if possible.

Question: What kind of questions do interviewers usually ask?

Answer: [There are] four kinds of questions typically asked in structured interviews.

1. Situational questions ask the applicants how they would respond in a hypothetical situation

“What would you do if…?”

2. Behavioral questions ask applicants what they did in previous jobs that were similar to the job for which they are applying

“In your previous job tell me about…” or “Tell me about a time when. . .”

3. Background questions ask applicants about their work experience, education, and other qualifications

“Tell me about the training/education you received at…”

4. Job-knowledge questions ask applicants to demonstrate their job knowledge

For example, accountants might be asked about the most complex journal entry that they ever completed

Question: Should you bring anything to an interview?

Answer: Yes, bring several copies of your resume in a nice portfolio as well as a supply of your OBU student business cards. These can be ordered through Debi in GC 101.

Question: How should someone dress?

Answer: Business professional is the preferred attire. Depending on where you are applying though, nice business casual could be appropriate. Always be clean and neat with shoes shined and hair cut or styled.

Question: How should you act during an interview?

Answer: Always act professionally. Do not get too casual. Remember that from the time that you pull into the parking lot of the business until the time that you leave, someone is watching you. The receptionist may be asked afterward for his or her opinion of you. Be courteous and professional to everyone you meet.

Question: How do you make yourself look most presentable/job-worthy without misrepresenting yourself?

Answer: Depending on the job for which you are interviewing, you will want to dress accordingly which is typically one notch above what the typical employee wears at that job. At the least, be clean, neat and well-groomed. Wearing a suit to an interview for a fast food position would not be appropriate while wearing clean jeans and a nice polo shirt would be.

Question: What should you definitely never do during an interview?

Answer: Never ask about salary and or benefits on the first interview. If the interviewer brings it up, fine but the interviewee should not bring it up.

Question: What are some things you actually shouldn’t do in an interview that people might think you should?

Answer: Do not get too casual. DO NOT refer to personal things about the interviewer that you found on social media – that would be creepy.

Question: Should you ask the interviewer questions?

Answer: Yes, absolutely. It is expected. In fact, the interviewer will almost always ask you, “what questions do you have for me?”

Question: What kind of questions?

Answer: Have five or six questions written down in your portfolio. Things like, Tell me about the culture here. What could I expect as a career path or promotion opportunities? What are you looking for in an ideal employee? What sort of training will I receive? Why is this position open? What is the next step in the process? etc.

Final thoughts: A good and serious interviewer will check your social media presence – yes they can and do. Always send a hand-written thank you note to the person or people who interviewed you, ASAP. Ask each person for a business card so that you have the correct spelling of the name as well as the address.

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