Nailing the Job Interview

Interviewing is scary, whether  you’ve gone through the process a billion times or not at all. But it’s a part of life, and we’ll all have to do it someday. An interview can be a little less scary if you know what to expect and how to prepare yourself.

First things first: Get your Resume on fleek! This is your first point of contact with your potential future boss, so this needs to be as #Flawless as you! Without a kick-ass resume, you probably won’t get an interview. Check out the resources at the University of Minnesota Career Services office that can help you get your resume in tip-top shape.

Congratulation’s you got an interview! Preparation is key when it comes to interviewing.  Time to get serious.

Think S.T.A.R. 

When it comes to answering any question remember the acronym S.T.A.R.

Situation/Task: What happened? Explain the situation or task that you were given.  

Action you took: What did you do?

Resolution/Reaction of what you learned: How did you help resolve the problem? What did you learn from it?

S.T.A.R. is universal to almost any situational question the interviewer might throw at you. Whether they’re asking you to give an example of a time you were a leader, or giving you a hypothetical situation to respond to, if you cover all four points of S.T.A.R., you’ll be sure to shine like one!

Repeat the question when answering. 

An example of this is if the interviewer asks, “What do you feel is your greatest strength?” You’d respond with: “I feel that my greatest strength is…” This will not only help you better answer the questions but also show that you’re actively listening to what the interviewer is asking. Not to mention, it offers you some extra time to think of what you're going to say

Do your research.

The easiest way to find mock interview questions is to Google them. This will give you a basic understanding of what questions are usually asked in an interview. There are also specific questions that come with specific jobs. Try Googling those interview questions for those jobs too. Google is your friend. Don’t forget to read up on the company you’re interviewing with too! Any knowledge you can come in with puts you one step ahead of the competition.

Make eye contact.

Eye contact is a must, not just during an interview, but in everyday life. It shows people that you’re listening and paying attention to what they’re saying. If there’s more than one interviewer, make eye contact with both throughout and look at whichever person is speaking to you. But also don’t be creepy. Make sure you remember to blink and break eye contact from time to time. You don’t want to look like a deer in headlights.

Use words that were in the job description.

You can use this trick for preparing your resume, as well as in your interview. When answering questions, relate the situation to one of the qualifications that’s in the job description. If they used words like “responsible, active listener or goal oriented,” use those words in the interview. It shows the interviewer/s that you’re the employee they’re looking for. If you aren’t clear on the job description or weren’t given one, simply contact the organization and ask them to send you a copy. This will show them your ability to take initiative, making you a prime candidate for the position.

Rehearse out loud.

Yes, out loud so everyone can hear! Get over that stage fright. Saying your answers out loud will help you get more comfortable with answering questions in an interview setting. This makes it easier to see bumps in the road or where you’re having troubles. Get a buddy to help you rehearse for extra help.

Dress for the job.

Break out your best outfit. When you look in the mirror, all you should be saying is: “Damn! I look professional and I’m working it!” Also make sure you’re somewhat comfortable. That’s always important.

Now that you’ve done your prep, blast the U of M rouser because it’s game time. If you’re still really nervous or feel unprepared, there are many more places at the University of Minnesota that can help you. Relax. Breathe. Be yourself. You’re super awesome. Show the interviewers that too. Now, go kick some butt.