Ace Your Interview

Ace Your Interview


– [Christine] All right,
well thanks for joining us for the Ace Your Interview webinar. I’m Christine Kelly, Director
of Career Development at Claremont Graduate University and I’m joined by. – [Michael] Michael Sacoto, Assistant Director of the
Career Development Office. – [Christine] Wonderful, and
today what we’re giving you is just a really short preview of how to prepare
effectively for an interview. There are other things that you can look at that we’ll talk to about later in the webinar that’ll help you prepare much more effectively. This is just to give you an idea of what you’re going to expect. So let’s look at the topics
we will cover for today. So our agenda is talking
about the process, so employer and interviewee perspectives, what types of interviews
you’re going to have and can prepare for, and then also some strategies to help you prepare before and during
and even after the interview. So all three of those
parts are really important. So we’ll kind of talk a little bit also about interview etiquette in that as well. So first topic. Tips to keep in mind as you’re thinking about preparing for your interview. So here’s some statistics
to know that 33% of bosses know within the first 90
seconds of an interview whether or not they will hire you. So if you think, how is somebody going to make
that decision that quickly? It happens based on how you
present at the interview. Are you there on time? Do you look professional for
the particular interview? Do you greet the person
with a strong handshake, a nice smile? So quick judgements that
people make about your character within a very
short amount of time. So it’s important to
really give thought to that and then to be nice to everybody that you greet before you actually meet the person interviewing you because they will ask anybody else if there’s a department
administrative assistant or somebody else that you
have to come in contact with, they’ll ask that person
how they thought you were. So that’s important to know. Number two we talked a
little bit about this, but 55% of your initial
impact comes in how you act and how you dress and how
you entered the situation. Interview dress used to be
easier ’cause you always had to dress in a suit and a tie. Even women, they used to in
the 80s have stupid women ties. But anyway, now it’s a little harder, but that’s one of the questions that you can and should ask the person setting up the interview with
what the appropriate dress is. If you don’t want to do that, my advice would be to drive
to the location the day before the interview, make sure you know how
long it’s gonna take you, where it’s going to be, and then watch how people are dressed as they’re entering and
exiting the building and dress a little nicer than that, and that would be a good way to know how people typically
dress at that workplace. Also there are a lot of
nonverbal mistakes we hear about and things that can sideline, even if you have a really
effective answers, your chances. And so not having enough eye contact, not having a good handshake and not having good body posture. So these are things that are hard to describe to you in a webinar, but if you wanna come in, if you’re concerned about your handshake, any one of us will shake your hand and let us know how you’re doing on that. And body posture, I can show you a good, effective way to sit in a seat so that
you have good posture. And I know eye contact
is sometimes a challenge because if you come from somewhere other than the U.S. you might think that people in the U.S. use
way too much eye contact and it makes you uncomfortable. So that’s something just
to know that in the U.S. we learned that people who don’t look at you aren’t being honest or that they’re not very
confident in their skills. And so it’s important to understand the cultural conditions that you’re going to be interviewing under when you’re in the United States and we can help with that as well. The most common question you will get is tell me about yourself, which I think is also the
hardest one to answer. And we’ll talk a little bit more later about some strategies to answer that. We also have a platform
called Big Interview that has some tips on how to answer the, tell me about yourself question. A common mistake that
people make is failing to ask for the job. So at the end of the
interview, before you leave, you can reinforce your commitment that you are really excited about the opportunity and
the job seems like a good fit and you’re looking forward
to an offer coming from them, that’s also something you should do by way of a thank you note. We hear a lot of times
from recruiters that people don’t write thank you
notes after an interview, and yeah, and that’s poor form. So make sure you write
a thank you note for it, and this is a big one. The most common mistake, little
knowledge of the company. And even Michael and I
have done mock interviews with people and will
ask them that question and sometimes they look at us
like a deer in the headlights. They don’t know what to say. – [Michael] Yeah. – [Christine] And you have to know, and this is something that
should be in your process actually, as you’re applying for a job, do you wanna work at that company? Do you agree with their philosophy? Their approach? Is that somewhere you wanna be? So do some research at the beginning, but also make sure that you
have a good response for that. Like if you’re going to Google, you can’t say, hey,
Google stuff all the time. (laughing) – [Michael] I’m a consumer. – [Christine] There you go. Need to know something
about the organization. So do your research, become familiar with what they do, and try to find something
that’s a little harder than just what’s on the
home page of the website. So it looks like you actually dug and took some time in that. – [Michael] All right, so
then types of interviews. There are many types of interviews that someone should definitely
be prepared to facilitate or successfully complete an interview. There’s phone, there’s
videos, there’s one-on-one. – [Christine] No, what happened? – [Michael] There we
are, so there’s phones, there’s video, one-on-one panels, and also group interviews as well. It’s important to know that
during the first stages of the recruiting process, it’s usually gonna be a
phone or a video interview, And how you properly prepare for these types of interviews is probably gonna be a little different than the in-person type of interviews. This is where your nonverbal communication or not non-verbal, non-physical communication really takes precedence over these interviews. So how you answer your questions, are they clear and concise? Your tone of voice. These are some things
that will most likely determine whether or not you move on to the next stage, which would be second level, third level, and then that’s when it’ll
be in-person interviews. – [Christine] Can I give a quick tip? – [Michael] Yes, absolutely. – [Christine] So one of the
things I usually suggest for phone interviews is to stand up and walk around and act
like you’re actually talking to somebody ’cause your voice is the only vocal cue that you have to express your interest and
enthusiasm and sound engaged. So if you are hands-free, so I know everyone uses a cell phone, make sure you have good cell reception. – [Michael] Yup. – [Christine] And gesture
and act as if you’re actually speaking to a person and that energy will come
through in your voice and you’ll sound much more engaged. – [Michael] Absolutely,
and the interview process is definitely different
depending on the industry that you’re interviewing for. So finding someone or doing some research on what the interview process is, is extremely important. For example, in some industries, let’s say the corporate organizations you will have to take
some form of, I would say, personality type of exams or skills exams, that way they see if
you’re a good fit for them. That’s usually used in
the consulting world. And then let’s just say an education, at least in the community
college sector you would have to take some form of exam
depending on your position. So just becoming well aware of what the interview process
is definitely important. So getting in touch with
someone within the organization or doing some good research beforehand is extremely important. Now video interviews, a lot of organizations
have been using this model, especially if they’re
looking for candidates that are in different
states or across the world. This is a video that we’re going to show that pretty much highlights what you should really pay attention to when setting up your video. – Skype, and you want it
to look better than this. Well, here are four
easy keys you can apply to look good in Skype interviews. Key one, sound. Having good sound is just as important as having a video. An empty room like this might sound fine to you in normal conversation, but it creates an annoying
for anyone listening on video, especially if the floor isn’t carpeted. Basically, the more
stuff that’s in the room to deflect the sound, the less echo. And make sure there’s no loud
noises in the background. Loud office conversations,
construction, air conditioning. These will make your interview
painful to listen to. Key two, location. Create a good background. This one is not good. It makes me look like a total slob. This one is too distracting. What’s that guy doing back there? And this one, just make sure you don’t have anything embarrassing
in the background. Keep it neat and simple. A white wall is usually too plain. So I set up a bookshelf like this. You could also use a house plants, a lampshade, a piece of art, et cetera. If you’re at the office,
you can set up a clean desk. – [Michael] So that’s a
video that you can access once the webinar’s over. We’ll send a link for the video. It’s about five minutes long and we’re not gonna show the entire thing, but just know that there is a proper setup for a video interview. So now moving onto the next
slide is how to prepare before the interview. So what’s very important is
research to the organization, and Christine already mentioned earlier that one of the biggest
mistakes is not knowing enough about the organization. So becoming well versed
with their mission statement and projects that
they’ve done in the past, what they’re currently doing, and what they’re doing in
the future is important. Know the job description and definitely think of times in which you’ve accomplished each duty and responsibility within
that job description. It doesn’t mean memorize all the stories within each of the bullet points, but you yourself have to
kind of gauge which of these bullet points are essential to carrying out the duties of the position and already have some
preset stories that you are willing to share during the interview. Required skills, identify situations where you use these skills. Throughout the entire job description there are probably certain types of skills that are going to be
highlighted multiple times like communication, perhaps project management, building partnerships, whatever it may be. It’s up to you to identify
what these skills are and also find ways in which you’re able to tell a story using those skills. The fourth one is what makes you unique and Christine, I’ve
heard Christine say this many times and to students as well, is that when entering an interview highlight three to four
things that you want them to know by the end of
the interview about you. Are you a person that takes initiative? Are you a team player? Are you a leader? Whatever it may be before the interview, definitely think of
what are some key things that you want them to know
about you before you leave? The next thing is what skills and abilities do you bring to the table? Now the skills that are
listed in the job description, it’s great to have stories for those and showcase that you’ve
done these skills before, but also them know that
you’re bringing extra skills to the position in the
organization is also essential. Project management, data
collection, and presentation are some examples of some skills that you can bring to the table. And then lastly, what else do you want
them to know about you? And this goes back to the let them know three things about you
question, not question, but I guess the purpose. What are the three things
you want them to know? – [Christine] Oh, very important. So if you haven’t figured this out yet, the keys to successfully
doing your interview are practicing
– Practice. – [Christine] I’d say a lot. – [Michael] Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice! – [Christine] So a couple of
things to help you with that. So first Big Interview
is an online platform that we subscribe for you so that you can practice interviewing. There are modules in it that have training of how to answer particular questions. Then there’s also a practice session where you can set it to
recognize your computer’s camera and answer questions, record
yourself, responding to them and then play it back and
listen to how you sound. Also, if you wanna, you
could share those with us and we could give you feedback on that, but we usually suggest
that you try doing a couple of rounds with Big Interview and then coming into us
to do a mock interview. So we will work with you. We’ll ask you questions based on the job that you’re applying for as best we can. Things that you’ll probably get asked and we’ll actually give you feedback on where you can improve, and that’s really important because you’re not gonna
get that kind of feedback when you’re on an interview, when you actually don’t wanna practice, when you really want a job. (laughing) – [Michael] Yes. – [Christine] So want to practice with us and we’ll give you some
straight forward feedback on things that you could do to improve, but it’s important to get to a point where you can speak well about what you do and practice everywhere. I’m guessing I’m not the only one with a long commute, but if you’re driving to and from places and stuck in traffic, go ahead and practice and say it out loud. It’s a very different experience between saying things in your
head and saying it out loud. So make sure you practice out loud. – [Michael] Absolutely. – [Christine] Some other things to think about as you’re preparing
for your interview is what you bring with you. So you should bring copies of your resume. I mean, obviously they should have them, but just in case. And also if there’s a lag time between the time that you applied for the job and got
called for the interview there might be some new things on your resume that you could add and that you would want
them to know about. Bring a list of references. Typically after they’ve interviewed you and before they make you an offer, they’ll call your references. So if you bring that list with you, that would be really helpful for them. A career portfolio. I tell people to do this all the time. Bring samples of your work. It gives you something to talk about. You can play, show and tell, and Michael’s the only
person I’ve ever interviewed who’s done that. – [Michael] Yes. – [Christine] And he
didn’t meet me forehand. (laughing) So I didn’t tell him to do that. So someone else gave him
that brilliant advice. – [Michael] Yup, yup, yup. – [Christine] But it really
helps to have samples of your work. And it’s something, especially you’re nervous
about talking about yourself, it’s something that you have in your hand to draw attention to. It takes a little bit of pressure off you because they’re not looking at you, they’re looking at your work product, and it really helps to demonstrate that you know how to do
what you say you’re doing. So do that, and also the
questions that you want to ask, you don’t ever wanna get to the point in the interview when they say, what questions do you have for us? And you say, nothing
you answered them all. So think in advance, and it’s okay to bring them
with you to write them down so that you don’t have
to freak yourself out trying to remember them. Then you can pull out your sheet, and, yes, I do have a couple of questions. You need to have at
least three solid ones. They should not be things
that you could find out easily by looking at their website. So really think about what do
you need to know about the job and about the organization that would help you make the decision if they
do offer you the position. Because one of the things
they think about is just ’cause somebody offers you a job doesn’t mean you need to take it. You might go through the interview process and think this really isn’t a fit for me. So really think about
what do you need to know in order to make that
decision for yourself? And then also your direction
so you don’t wanna get lost. (laughing) And that’s also why, it’s
good to go the day before and see where it is. What’s the traffic like about the time that you have to go and
then always arrive early. Like, I think at least a half an hour. Don’t show up in the building that early, but sit in the parking lot, wait, show up at their office about 10 minutes before between five and 10
minutes before your interview. There’s science on that one too. If you wanna know, I’ll tell you later. (laughing) That would be really helpful. Then you could have some time to get calm and centered before you’re actually going through your interview. And then things to do
during the interview. We already mentioned nonverbal
communication is key. So there’s all kinds
of research on how much of your messages
communicated non-verbally, but it’s a lot. So you need to have a nice firm handshake when you first meet the person, and women tend to have,
often it’s a stereotype, but sometimes women have less
strong handshakes than men, but sometimes men go the
extreme and grab too hard. So you need to be balanced. Good, but not too hard. Good posture that helps
with breath control and helps you to look professional. Good eye contact, smile, it helps and it’s okay to laugh
during an interview. Listen and observe. So pay attention to how other
people are working and, again, dress professionally based
on what’s appropriate for the workplace that you’re entering. So again, it is okay
to ask and feels vary, so if you’re going for
a consulting interview, you do need to be suited up. If you’re going for an
interview at Google, that might not be the case, and so understand the
environment that you’re entering. And then you also need to think about your verbal communication, and that’s important
to think about as well. So answer questions clearly. I always suggest to people
to impose a structure on yourself when someone
asks you a question, if they ask any behavioral question, tell me about a time, excuse me, you experienced conflict with someone. You can have parts because
you know you wanna use situation, action, and results. So if you think about that in your mind, I need to first explain the situation then I need to say what I did and then I need to tell what happened because of what I did and that will help you to keep focus. Or if they give you a question where you could have three things that you wanna say, if you impose that structure, you’ll be much more focused
and clear in your responses. Be enthusiastic and confident, so you want to make sure that
you are expressing yourself in a strong manner. Be honest, don’t ever
exaggerate your experiences, your skills, and be upfront
on what you get done. It’s okay if you haven’t
done something before. You’re in grad school, so one of the things you should be learning in grad school is how to learn new information quickly and efficiently. So if they ask you
about something that you don’t know how to do, it’s okay to say, I haven’t done that before, but based on my experience
of picking up new skills and learning new tasks, I know I can do that really quickly. And you can even give an example of something, maybe that
you’ve done in grad school, that would show, I didn’t
know this before I came in and with this many weeks, I was well versed in it. Again, smile, that’s really important. And avoid empty fillers, so it’s okay to pause,
but you wanna be careful of not saying uhm or uh, or
err, or like, or you know, or things like that too often that’s one of the advantages to coming in and doing a mock interview with us if you have a lot of verbal fillers we’ll point that out to you so that you don’t make that
mistake during interview, which isn’t going to come off really well. So let’s look at questions to ask. – [Michael] Or questions to
expect within an interview. – [Christine] To expect, sorry. – [Michael] some common questions. Obviously the first one,
tell me about yourself. Christine already went
over it earlier today. There are many ways that you
can answer this question. You can also go on Big Interview and really get a good idea of
how to properly answer that. They’re not necessarily
asking for your entire career or life timeline. There is a model that we’ve created here. It’s called like the VEST model which is a word within
the word of investment. V for values, E for
experience, S for skills, and then T for translation. So when answering this question, it’s always good to kind of
state who you are as a person. So what you value two or
three things that you value, how these values have
guided your experiences, either in your academic setting or in your workplace setting and the skills that
you’ve gained in academia or in your work experience. And then how all of that, the values experience and the skills translate
over to the position or the organization that
you’re applying for. And then the next one is what do you know about the company? If you don’t know anything
about the company, that’s a good way to not get the job. So definitely go back
to doing the research in the organization. Hopefully, you did do the research before you even applied to the position because as you’re doing that research, you get to customize your resume and your cover letter as you’re applying. So research of an
organization should really be step one even before you apply, but definitely know about the organization when you’re sitting in front of them. The next one is what interests
you about the position? And this goes back to the values. It’s not only the position but it’s probably also the organization. What you value and what the organization values probably coincides. So that’s why you wanna work
within the organization, and it’s also important to
highlight the position itself. Letting them know that you come equipped with these certain
skills that would aid to you carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the position, but that you also look
forward to learning new skills that this position is able to provide you. So then there’s kind of a give and take. And then lastly, it’s
behavioral type questions. Tell me a time or give an example of when you dealt with
conflict in the workplace or when you spearheaded a project or when you improved certain practices in the workplace or in a academic setting. This goes back to what
we mentioned earlier, to just have some stories
prepared ahead of time when it comes to these bullet points ’cause a lot of the times, a lot of these behavioral questions will be focused on these bullet points that are listed in your job description. So be prepared to answer all
those behavioral questions. And just as Christine mentioned earlier, using the SAR method, the situation action and
results kind of keeps you in line of how you’re gonna
answer these questions in a clear and concise manner without going in multiple
avenues and routes, and losing your train of thought. – [Christine] Excellent, all right, so questions that you can ask. So obviously you always
wanna have questions to ask about the people,
position, workplace, anything research that
you’ve done that you wanna know a little bit more about. Maybe there’s a project
that they’re working on that you wanna delve into and show that you know
some things about that. And so it’s important to ask about that. So for the position, how does the position contribute to the organization’s mission would be potential question. What are the challenges of working here and how might I overcome them? And again, don’t take that these are the only questions to ask. I’m just giving you examples. (laughing) So to preview then your research of what could I do that would contribute to helping the department reach its goals? That’s really good. Another excellent question. What can I do my first six months that would define me as
an excellent employee? So you can see what
their expectations are. And if actually if it’s corporate, you might wanna say first 90 days. – [Michael] Yeah, first 90 days. – [Christine] In higher ed, they give you six months trial period. Other places you get two or three months, and then if they don’t
like you, they kick you. – [Michael] Yup. – [Christine] So, or what’s a typical career path for someone in this role? And this might be a good question to ask. You don’t wanna ask what
are my opportunities for advancement before
you’ve gotten a job, but this is the nice way
to ask about opportunities for advancement without
saying that, just like that. So a career path would help you figure out if the organization
does promote from within and how they nurture their employees, and so that would be a good way to ask that kind of question. – [Michael] It also showcases
that you’re interested in the organization as a whole, that you’re not just there
for one, two-year period, that you’re there for
pretty much the long haul and that you would wanna create a career within the organization. – [Christine] Yeah, and
actually speaking to that, that’s another question that I’ve heard a lot of people getting asked is what’s your five year plan? So be prepared to answer that question of what your five year plan is and if your five year plan is not to work for them in five years. Don’t mention that. (laughing) – [Michael] Don’t mention this. – [Christine] That might be true, but there’s some things you
just don’t say in an interview. – [Michael] Yeah. – [Christine] All right,
so there are a few things you should do to effectively
end the interview. One would be to reaffirm your interests and summarize the strengths
that you bring to the position. Next will be determine next steps, and so if it’s a phone
interview you’re doing, then you want to make sure that you know what the next phase is and how long it might
be until they invite you for an in-person. And then if it’s an in-person, how long might it be until they invite you or until they make an offer or if there’s another
interview process after that. Sometimes there are multiples, and so that might be a couple of on campus or onsite, sorry, interviews. Ask for business cards so
that you can contact people afterwards or at least get
their contact information even if they don’t have a business card. Express what a pleasure
it was to interview with these folks. Remember that the people interviewing you, that’s not their job. Their job is to do whatever
it is they’re hiring you to help out with. So they’re taking time out of their schedule to interview you and wanna know that you really
appreciate that commitment. And also shake hands with
everybody if that’s possible. If it’s a large panel
interview that might not be it, and it might be kind of awkward, but try as best you can. That’s making sure that you at
least close off with people. And then I know we’ve
mentioned this before, but definitely send thank you
notes after the interview. It’s essential that you do that. Employers do judge you based
on that and also how quickly, so you might wanna send a snail mail one, if you want, for extra flourish. – [Michael] Yeah. – [Christine] But definitely make sure that you send an email within 24 hours of having the interview. And there’s a few things that you could do in that message too. So maybe there’s something that you forgot that you really wanted to mention to them and you could add that
into your thank you note. Afterwards you should also evaluate the interview for yourself. How do you think you did? Are there areas where you can improve and just kind of do a debrief. And so you can even come into us and talk to us about how you think it went and what things you maybe struggled with so that we can help you prepare. And then also to be patient at this time. The average length of time it takes in doing an interview to
getting an offer is 23 days. That’s about three weeks. So sometimes it takes a
lot longer than you think. So don’t get discouraged. Sometimes things just take a long time. So we do hope that you will engage with us and there’s different ways that you can. So online we have Big Interview and that’s the platform we talked to you about that you
can help practice with. We do have a YouTube channel. We have a lot of videos on
there and other webinars. Now we do have a blog where
we write interesting things that you need to know
about career development. And we have a Facebook, it’s the Academic Professional
Development Facebook page where I posts a lot of things
on that, and Instagram. We also do in person workshops, a lot of those with
employers and other webinars and we have a lot of events and you can see all of those on Handshake, and here are our social media platforms. – [Michael] Yeah, so these are all of our social media platforms. It’s a good practice to
definitely start following us on at least on Facebook and on Instagram. We have a lot of interactive, I guess, challenges that we facilitate through these social media platforms and these challenges
enter you into a raffle to potentially win a gift card. It’s also when we bring
employers on campus, you’ll be the first one to
know who’s coming on campus. Our employer relations
coordinator goes out and has many meetings with many different types of organizations and every once in awhile he will post which
organizations he’s meeting with and things like that. So definitely follow us on social media to get the latest and greatest of what, not only our offices doing,
the Career Development Office, but also the Preparing Future Faculty, the writing and rhetoric center, and also Transdisciplinary
Studies Department as well. – [Christine] Excellent, so
thanks a lot for joining us and we really hope to see you
in our office really soon. We’re over in the Burkle
building in suite 130. So come by and say hi, thanks. – [Michael] Thank you.

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