Preparing for the Interview

An interview is simply a conversation. The rules for a successful conversation therefore also hold true for interviews, including: 1. Don’t interrupt, 2. Balance talking with listening, 3. Be honest, and 4. Take time to formulate your thoughts before answering the tough questions. Remember, if it’s the resume gets you the interview, it’s the interview that gets you the job, so be clear and concise in your answers, make sure you’ve answered the questions you’re asked, and always be ready to turn a negative into a positive!

Preparing for interviews by doing ‘mock interviews’ was extremely helpful for my friends and me. The five of us took turns being interviewee (1), interviewer (2), and observers (2). The interviewer asked 2-3 questions to the interviewee, whose job it was to answer the questions to the best of their ability. The observers recorded the responses, made observations, acted as timekeepers, and offered constructive feedback at the conclusion of the interview.

Possible interview questions could include any of the following:

1. Please walk us through your resume.
2. What are your strengths/weaknesses?
3. Why are you interested in this job?
4. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
5. How do you handle conflict (people, situations)? Tell us about a time when you had to handle a difficult situation.
6. Do you prefer working in teams or by yourself? Please explain why.
7. How do you work under pressure? Please give us an example of a stressful work situation, your involvement with it, and the outcome.
8. Please describe a time when you identified and resolved a specific problem at school or in another setting.

The constructive feedback the interviewer and observers give the interviewee should address their presentation, affect, tone of voice, articulation, and posture. They should also share what they felt or saw were the interviewee’s strengths. As an interviewee, do not to be afraid to ask clarifying questions about the interviewer’s questions. Listen well so that you can identify opportunities to link your skills and qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for. It’s also a great idea to bring a list of questions and to take notes during the interview.

MBAE was pleased to receive a blog post from Kennedy Sheehan, a senior at Norfolk County Agricultural High School in Walpole where she is an Animal Science major.  Her student peer-to-peer article on the interview process was written for her careers and tech class, but we’ve posted her advice to help other students who are applying for jobs and may be wondering what to expect at their interview!

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