• Maureen Pham

Interview like a Star

On-campus jobs, internships or leadership roles, interviews are invariably a crucial part of the hiring process, which is why the Career Center can help you offer your best in any interview.

When preparing for an interview, follow the most tried and true method: practicing ahead of time. Familiarize yourself with the Career Center’s list of common interview questions. Run through your responses with a friend, sibling or roommate, as practicing with someone else forces you to evaluate the quality of your own responses. The Career Center offers 60-minute mock interviews, for as many sessions as you feel is necessary. Take advantage of these resources!

When going into an interview, it is impossible to anticipate every question that you will be asked. However, you can prepare by practicing how to answer. Be ready to give a brief overview of yourself through discussing your general goals, skills, and background. One should plan to discuss skills, abilities, relevant college coursework, on and off campus leadership roles, previous and relevant work experience, sports, clubs and other extracurricular activities. Prioritize experiences that are relevant to the specific position for which you are applying. Remember to be honest about your accomplishments and abilities.

One method that the Career Center recommends for formatting your answers is the S.T.A.R technique (Situation, Task, Action and Result). Situation: What was the situation? TASK: What task(s) did you identify that had to be completed? Action: What action did you take? Result: What was the result of your actions? This is a useful tool that is easy to memorize and follow. However, know that nailing an interview goes beyond answering questions. Here is what the Career Center advises to assure you are fully prepared.

Get it together! Run through questions several times before your interview date; practicing will help you become confident in your responses. Gather your application materials together and bring them to your interview just in case. This action concretely shows your level of preparedness and your interest in the position. You can also bring a writing utensil and folder or padfolio to jot down notes or information as needed.

Making an impression! Understand the impact of your appearance. Wear clean and crisp business professional attire (see our Interviewing Guidebook or Dress for Success resources) with minimal or no scents or jewelry. Presentation is a major aspect of the first impression. If you need professional attire, contact the Career Center or Maguire Scholars Program. Remember you do not want your appearance to distract from your qualifications.

Showcase your level of preparedness by bringing hard copies of your resume, reference list, any requested documentation and if necessary, samples of work. Dressed in an outfit that you feel confident in, arrive 10-15 minutes before your interview. During this time turn off or silence your cell phone.

Time to shine! When greeting the interviewer be sure to introduce yourself, extend a firm handshake, use the appropriate salutation (Ms./Mr./Dr.) and maintain eye contact. Utilize the STAR technique to help you formulate your responses. You are qualified for this position and prepared for this interview; let your confidence shine through.

In the end, let your interviews be a representation of the best you have to offer at any given time. The Career Center is eager to help you succeed. Stop in today to hear how we can help you!