SPLASH Spring 2011
NOT JUST FOR SENIORS
Virginia Tech Career Services
540-231-6241 March 15, 2012
• Basics about Interviewing
• Key Things to Know
• Preparing for Difficult Questions
• Top 10 Interviewing Mistakes
WHAT IS AN INTERVIEW?
• Two way conversation between you and the employer
– Determine mutual needs
– Match your skills, experience and work goals with job
opening and employer goals
• A selling situation
• First chance for you to meet and speak with a potential
• Second step of the job search process
WHAT AN EMPLOYER WANTS TO KNOW
• Are you capable of doing the job?
• Are you motivated to do the job?
• Are you a person they’ll like working with on their
USE SALES KNOW HOW
1. Know your product = You
2. Know your customer = Employer
3. Know the sales process = Interviewing
#1 - KNOW YOURSELF
• Educational and work background
– Classes taken
– Work experiences
– Extracurricular activities
• Identify knowledge skills, and abilities from each of
• Relate to the job opening
MORE TO KNOW ABOUT YOURSELF
• Know your goals and objectives
– What job title are you seeking?
– What work features are important to you?
– Where do you want to work?
• Geographic location
• Size of company
• Type of company (product vs. service)
– What is your desired starting salary range?
PREPARE YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH
• Who you are?
• Why you are interested in the position and the
• Why/How you are qualified?
• What can you do for them?
SAMPLE ELEVATOR PITCH
Hello, I’m Sarah Crockett, a junior economics
major and political science minor at Virginia
Tech. I’m interested in your management intern
program where I could put my leadership and
customer service skills to work. I also have a
deep appreciation for diversity after living,
studying, and traveling abroad all last year.
#2 - KNOW THE COMPANY
• What are the job responsibilities?
• What type of training program is available?
• What is the typical path for promotion?
MORE TO KNOW ABOUT THE COMPANY
• What is their product or service?
• Who are their competitors?
• How large is the organization?
– Number of employees
– Annual sales
– Market share
• Where is the company located?
Use Google, LinkedIn, and Career Shift
to your advantage!
#3 - KNOW THE INTERVIEW PROCESS
INTRODUCTION DIALOGUE CLOSING
INTRODUCTION: MAKE AN IMPRESSION!
• Body language, facial expression
• Eye contact
• Look for something you have in common
DIALOGUE: THE ACTUAL INTERVIEW
• Behavioral Interviewing
– Employers predetermine which skills are necessary for a job
and then ask very pointed questions to determine if the
candidate possesses those skills
• Basic Premise
– The most accurate predictor of future performance is past
performance in a similar situation
DIALOGUE: SAMPLE QUESTIONS
• Give me an example of a time you had to make an
important decision. How did you make the
decision? How does it affect you today?
• Give me an example of a time you had to persuade
other people to action. Were you successful?
• Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult
person. How did you handle the situation?
DIFFICULT QUESTIONS TO PREPARE FOR
• Tell me about yourself
– Use your elevator pitch, and add in a few more details
• Why should we hire you?
– Talk in detail about your ability and experience. Also stress
positive personal qualities -- dependable, get along well with
others, on time for work. Give examples to support what you
• Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses
– Emphasize positive skills and qualities, and support with
examples. Explain how you overcome or compensate for
MORE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS …
• Why do you want to work here?
– Mention positive reasons. You’ve heard good things about the
company; you’ve heard that the company offers an extensive
training program; you are good at this type of job and enjoy it.
• Do you have any questions?
– Ask questions to show interest in the job and the organization.
Avoid asking about benefits, vacation days, and salary until
later in the interview process.
CLOSING THE INTERVIEW
• Ask what the next step is
• Close the Sale
– Express your interest in the position and how you fit
– Overcome objections
• Obtain all interviewers’ business cards
TOP TEN INTERVIEW MISTAKES
10) Arriving late
9) Dressing wrong
8) Badmouthing employers
7) Appearing disinterested or arrogant
6) Failing to do research
TOP TEN INTERVIEW MISTAKES
5) Preparing or answering poorly
4) Failing to ask questions
3) Talking too much
2) Discussing salary too soon
#1 INTERVIEW/JOB SEARCH MISTAKE
Failing to Follow Up! Do It!!
• After initially applying
• After interviewing; write a thank you note
• After your thank you
• Again if needed
SAMPLE FOLLOW UP
Hello, this is Sarah Crockett. I emailed my
resume and cover letter to you a few weeks ago
and am calling to check on the status of my
application. I am very interested in the
opportunity at Virginia Tech Career Services
and want to do all I can to be considered for an
interview. Is there any other…
QUESTIONS? NEED MORE HELP?
Walk-In Advising: 12 – 3, M-F
Interview Practice: career.vt.edu
Sarah Crockett, email@example.com