Columbus State’s Office of Career Services featured a workshop on September 23, called “Acing the Interview”, facilitated by Julie Collet, a Career Counselor at CSCC. Julie’s well organized presentation for students and alumni was designed to help students learn how to be successful when interviewing for jobs while touching briefly on job search strategies. Career Counselors at CSCC, help provide suggestions and offer to student’s services such as; resume, cover letter and thank you letter reviews along with mock interviews.
This workshop highlighted steps students should take to prior to an interview. Candidates should prepare, practice replies and anticipate potential questions an employer may ask about their experience listed on their resume. Applicants should practice talking about their skills and abilities, while being able to identify an area of weaknesses and state how they plan to address it. Students should also be prepared to field any questions regarding gaps in employment and feel free to look up ways to address these issues in a professional manner.
Julie said each candidate must do research on the company, the job posting, and find out what type of interview will be conducted. If the interview will be by an individual, get their name and contact information. If it’s to be with a panel get the name of the business professional or the interviewer and try to keep track of the type questions asked by each. This information will be useful in the follow up thank you letter. If the interview is via Skype make sure the back ground looks clean and organized, and look at the camera not the screen when answering. If it will be a group interview with other candidates at the same time, the interaction of the candidates will be observed to determine the interpersonal and communicative skills demonstrated and how well the candidates work together.
She emphasized the importance of developing a 1 to 2 minute Elevator Speech, which is a brief statement that defines a candidate their accomplishments and goals. She provided web links that give examples of good and bad responses. A job candidate should arrive early professionally dressed with notebook, list of questions, and a pen. Copies of resume should be brought in case the interviewer is joined by others, and a candidate should bring a portfolio with samples of work if relevant to the job.
Julie Collet discussed nonverbal communication, demonstrating how to look confident with shoulders back and an enthusiastic expression, make eye contact with the interviewer, and listen carefully to the questions. Answers should be brief, but feel free to ask if the questions were answered fully. She included a list of common questions that are frequently asked by interviewers and a list of questions should never be asked by candidates, such as, “when will I be promoted?’
Immediately after the interview, write down things that went well and areas that need improving as well as responses to questions that need clarification. As soon as possible but within 24 to 48 hours an email message should be sent back to the interviewer thanking him or her; a paper version should be mailed. Each interview is a learning process and a way to expand professional networks. Julie Collet recommended joining LinkedIn and other network organizations and that valuable career help is available from the Office of Career Services.