Monday, January 21, 2013

How Many Cows Are In Canada?

Answering Crazy Interview Questions

Imagine you are in a job interview.  After answering a long list of typical questions the interviewer looks at you very seriously and asks, “How many cows are in Canada?”   What do you do?!?!

Believe it or not, wacky questions like this one are popping up in interviews more and more every day. Don’t Panic!  Heather Huhman of provides job seekers with some great tips to answering these types of questions in this article: How to Answer Oddball Interview Questions Check it out to learn what's important when answering, "A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero.  What does he say and why is he here?"

Friday, January 18, 2013

What are Your Weaknesses? Tips for Answering this Tough Interview Question

What is your greatest weakness?

If your anything like me, you hear the word weakness and you run for the hills! The word weakness is loaded. It can throw you off if you are not expecting or preparing for this type of question in an interview.

The key to answering this question concisely and in a positive manner is to be prepared. The following are tips that can help you prepare.

*Some of these tips are based on a previous blog post on Career Chatter from 2010, but I thought they were worth mentioning again!

What employers are looking for with this question:

Are you Self-aware?

Are you aware of areas that you need to improve upon? Having this awareness shows employers that you will continually seek improvement in your job.

Are you actively thinking about how to improve?

Are you taking steps to make yourself better? This shows that you are intentional about improvement.

Will your weakness jeopardize your job performance?

Addressing the weakness question:

1) Think of weaknesses as being an area that you need to improve upon or are working on now.

2) Chooses a weakness that is not primary function of the job.

3) Do not choose “fake” weaknesses, such as being a perfectionist or expecting too much of others. Employers are looking for you to be honest about your weaknesses and self-awareness.

4) Choosing a skill as a weakness can be better than a personality trait. Skills are something you can improve, were as personality does not show much change.

5) Avoid giving a laundry list of weaknesses. In an interview you want to spend as much time highlighting positive experiences and assets you can bring to the organization.

6) Focus on the changes you have made to overcome or improve upon your weakness; provide a tangible example.

Using the STAR method to answer this question:

Situation: Describe the situation. State your weakness simply and factually.

*A good way to do this: I have a tendency to (weakness) when (under what circumstances).

Task: Talk about the challenge or task.

Action: Explain the action(s) you are taking. What are you doing to improve?

Result: Talk about the positive results. What have you learned from your weakness or how have you worked to improve?

Most importantly, do not get hung up on a question about your weakness. Taking time to reflect and prepare will help you be more confident when addressing this question in an interview!

If you have an interview coming up, set up an appointment for a Practice Interview with one of our Career Counselors!

Career Services Center

Holthusen Hall, First Floor 

Phone: (414) 288-7423

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Start the Semester Off Right: 5 Steps for Conducting a Successful Spring Internship/Job Search

As Meredith Reinhardt highlighted in her previous blog, winter break is a valuable time to update your resume and find job opportunities.  However, as it quickly comes to a close, it is important to remember that the internship and job search is a process.  What does this mean for your job/internship search?

1      Do not become fixated on one opportunity Keep searching for multiple positions of interest to improve your options and chance of finding a position well suited for you interests, values, and skills.  REMEMBER: THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES IN THE JOB SEARCH PROCESS, IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAXIMIZE YOUR OPTIONS!

2       Schedule time in your calendar to regularly search for jobs, track application deadlines, and submit applications.  As a new semester begins and courses resume, it is easy to say, I will work on job applications later…. Only to find that the deadline already passed for your top choice job. Make the job search a part of your daily schedule without procrastinating from school work!

3       Customize your applications- Focus on the quality of applications and include company specific information rather than sending out massive amounts of generic resumes.  While this will most likely increase the time that you spend on an application, it will also increase your chance of being granted an interview. Like most of us, employers want to feel special!

.        Stay organized- Utilize desktop folders and Excel spreadsheets to keep track of job openings and the status of your job applications.  When employers contact you to schedule interviews, it is important to be able to access job descriptions and position details for each of your applications. As a result, you will be able to accurately express your interest in the position.

    Be aware of upcoming career events- Much like preparing for an exam, during the job/internship search it is necessary to do your homework about companies and practice interviewing techniques prior to a career fair or on-campus interview. For instance, the Reverse Career Fair will be taking place on February 12th (5-7PM) and the Workforce Career Fair (4-7PM in the AMU) is also quickly approaching on February 21, 2012. Begin researching about companies of interest that will be at Workforce through MU Career Manager.  Start the semester off on the right foot, schedule a resume/cover letter critique or practice interview today by calling the MU Career Service Center at (414) 288-7423.