Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How to be a STAR when interviewing

I’ll admit, I spend just as much time on my Blackberry everyday as I do talking to other people. Sad, I know. But the dependency on technology seems to be getting stronger with each new wave of incoming students and as I walk through campus, I don’t see faces anymore; I see cell phones and laptops. Face to face conversations have lost their luster and have installed a fear in people’s ability to ‘sell themselves’ in an interview. As our office is in the midst of our busy season and companies are hosting on-campus interviews, I find it only appropriate to take some time to review some basics of interviewing.

There is almost a 100% guarantee you will be asked one if not both of the following questions: “Tell me about yourself” and “Tell me about a time when…” I also find these questions to be the hardest for students to answer when I helping them during a practice interview.

For the first question of “tell me about yourself” you should have a prepared ‘elevator speech’ or 60 second commercial. This answers the basics about yourself: name, year in school, major or degree, your past experiences (as they relate to who you are speaking to), and your future career goals. Practicing this with a friend or in front of the mirror is an easy way to figure out what to say before an interview.

When answering the second question, this is an opportunity for you to tell a story related to what the employer would like you to address. Here is an easy way to structure your story:

S – Situation

T – Task

A – Action

R – Result

Describe a specific time either on a class project, at an internship, a job, or volunteer experience. Think about the situation you were in, what the task was that you had to accomplish, the action or steps that you took to get there, and the end result. Highlight your best self and be a STAR!

So my advice to all the job seekers out there - put down your cell phone, turn off your computer, and unplug for a few hours and practice!

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