It’s that time of year where we’re all swarmed with interviews. Whether it be for a job, internship or club, there’s nothing wrong with doing everything in your power to ace it. The Center for Career Development hosted a seminar on Wednesday afternoon to discuss tips and tricks on how to successfully prepare, and execute, your interview.
Eighth-semester English and communication double major Victoria Kuryan led the seminar. She delved into how to prepare for an interview, common interview questions (tell me about yourself, strengths and weaknesses and behavioral questions) and ended with tips for success.
Kuryan emphasized the three main categories of questions: traditional, behavioral and case. Traditional questions refer to the standard interview questions we all know about: “Tell us about yourself,” “What’s your background?” Behavioral questions are more focused on how you have problem-solved: “Give me a specific example of a time you demonstrated your leadership skills?” or “Describe a moment when you had to adapt to your environment.”
Kuryan believes all behavioral questions can be answered using the STARR method. STARR is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result and Relate. Situation gives a brief overview of the context of your experience, Task explains in one to two sentences the assignment you were doing, Action refers to the specific steps you took to accomplish the tasks, Results are the outcomes and your learnings and Relate is how this experience is relevant to your position.
The last type of question is a case question.
“Case questions are industry-specific questions that you are likely to encounter during your interview. These will be a lot more specific, usually towards the industry or position itself,” said Kuryan.
The three types of case questions that appear most often are logic, business and brain teaser questions. Some examples of this are, “How many traffic lights are in New York City?” or “In the Chicago subway there are two escalators for going up, but only one for going down to the subway. Why?”
Kuryan also touches upon the importance of verbal and nonverbal communication. While it can be easily overlooked, nonverbal communication is an important aspect of interview etiquette.
“You want to maintain good eye contact, so make sure if it’s an in-person interview you’re maintaining contact for 75 percent of the time,” she said. “If it’s a virtual interview, try to look directly into the camera sometimes to simulate that eye contact environment.”
Besides eye contact, remaining aware of posture, hand gestures and fidgeting is important.
For the verbal component, it’s essential to use good grammar, avoid fillers (“like,” “um,” “you know”), take advantage of silence and keep answered questions to an appropriate length.
Just as crucial as the bulk of the interview is the end. According to Kuryan, the interviewee is welcomed to ask three to five questions, discuss training opportunities, current events impacting the company, plans for future growth or next steps in the selection process. Some topics to avoid are salary, controversial topics, company criticisms, personal topics or anything that can be found online/in the job description.
While of course all these tips are important to keep in mind, it’s just as important to be yourself and enjoy the process.