How Employers Rank You and Your Interview Skills

“Have you ever wanted to know how employers evaluate you during an interview?” During the Career Conference: Boot Camp, I picked up a sheet, which was an real example from an employer’s evaluating sheet the business’s recruiter uses to evaluate potential employees in interviews. The only way to study for an interview is to prepare and practice for anything. Every year I brush up on my interviewing skills, and each year I learn more and more about selling myself as an individual employee. On the evaluation sheet, there were categories that included the usual: educational background, prior work experience, qualifications, customer service, and knowledge of company. Things we all learn at the beginning when trying to learn more about how to properly answer interview questions. What had really stuck out to me on this eval were categories like verbal communication, initiative, and candidate enthusiasm. I had never thought to think about how I communicated during an interview or if I could come off as a self-motivating person as defined in the initiative and verbal communication sections. It was the littler things on this evaluation that I never thought too important until seeing and analyzing this.

Your body language and how you answer questions can go hand in hand on how you execute yourself in an interview. If you are not well versed in talking about your qualifications, you won’t seem like you actually know what you are doing. If you are slouching, leaning too far back or too forward can come off as either lazy or aggressive. When sitting during an interview, sit as if there is a string connected to the top of your head. Be comfortable and relaxed, but confident. Keep your eye contact when you can, but you don’t have to stare! It’s okay to break eye contact once in a while. If you are a hand-talker (like myself) that’s alright, but make sure you are not chopping in the air or finger pointing. Sometimes this can cause you to seem aggressive instead of enthusiastic. When you are giving examples of your qualifications and experiences, keep them to school and work related as well. Personal examples out of these categories will make your verbal communication become less professional. If you planned your family reunion or helped with your sister’s wedding, keep it to yourself (unless you got paid).

The STAR Technique was created for Behavioral Interviews, which are interviews that ask questions that are directed for detailed answers to see if the candidate has specific desired characteristics the company is looking for.  Behavioral Interviews are used to predict future performance of potential employees by how they performed in the past. The questions asked could start out as “tell me about a time when…” or “describe a situation…” The interviewer will be looking for detailed and though answers that pertain to the question and your skills. Before the interview, pick out your skills and qualities that the job position entitles. Then think of professional situations that pertain to those skills and qualities. Having a few in mind will help you thoroughly answer these questions.

The STAR Technique refers to situation or task, action and result. When being evaluated, keep this in mind, especially for behavioral and situational interviews. When a question is asked, you will first state the situation you were in or the task that was given. Give enough details about the event that it makes sense to the interviewer. Experiences can come from a previous job, volunteer event, or school project. Then explain the action you took to be successful in accomplishing this task or project. Make sure to keep the focus of the experience on you. IF you did a group project, explain what you did within the group. Don’t give a situation where you would have done something differently. They don’t want to know what you would have done, but what you actually did do. At the end of telling the experience, explain how the event ended, what did you accomplish, or what did you learn? If you had wished to have done something differently, explain how you learned from that experience to make it better in the future (but be careful on the severity of the situation when telling this experience).

Lastly, if you get a question you don’t know how to answer, keep calm! May(maybe) it is a question you don’t understand, which is perfectly fine. Ask questions on what the interview means so you can correctly answer to them. If you still don’t know, you try to make stuff up or bluntly say “I don’t know.”  Tell the employer of what you do know about some of the question, and maybe eventually you’ll be able to realize you know more than you know. In the end, always send a follow-up email, maybe discussing any questions the interview caught you on that stumped you. Don’t bring attention to any questions the recruiter didn’t notice you struggling on. If you came to realize a better answer to the problem question, mention that after more thought, you have come to find more solutions to the answer. It never hurts to send a thank you letter or email to have an employer remember your interview with them after they have scored you. They could be your second chance if the first round wasn’t perfect.