BOD MAG: Preparation and practice, essential for interviewing

Preparation and practice, essential for interviewing

By Troy Russell

Unless you have had your fair share of jobs it is likely that as you get ready to graduate, you might not have a lot of experience being interviewed. This can make the prospect of joining the job market seem daunting.

Washburn University students have an advantage with access to career services. One of the services is tailored to helping prepare Washburn graduates with being proficient interviewees. Washburn University is has “Mock interview day,” where students can sign-up through BodJobs and take advantage of a pre-scheduled interview with professionals. At the end of the day participants will have a better idea of how well they handle interviews and want measures can be taken for improvement.

“I could not emphasize enough that students just don’t realize that they need help with interviewing, until they do a mock interview,” said Duane Williams, Washburn University career services specialist.

A simple truth is that interviewing is a less than regularly experienced situation. And is no different than other tasks, it takes practice and the proper resources to get good at it.

A great starting point for getting a nice understanding of a successful interview and the skills associated with it, is the link to career services on the my washburn website.

Once there you will find links to PDFs and a concise list of useful do’s such as: be 10 minutes early, be polite to the receptionist and wear a minimal amount of jewelry. Some don’ts include: not using the interviewer’s first name unless asked to, show anxiety or lack of interest, and do not mumble or be dishonest.

Another important consideration is, the parts of the interview process. The broad parts of the process include: preparation, the interview and the follow-up.

Prepare by employer research, remember that volunteer and internship experience count as relevant experience and that not all professional interviews will be conducted in the same way. The different types of interviews are: phone, group, panel, site and meal.

Employer research can include “informational interviews” also known as “career development research” where you find a source in the profession you are interested in and get familiar with the job prior to applying and going to an interview.

A career services brochure says to remember your primary purpose in conducting an informational interview:  to gather information to make an informed major or career choice, to make valuable contacts in your field of interest for future opportunities and to be remembered and referred on later.

Next part is the actual interview. To do well one must know himself or herself and communicate this.

This goes as well as how prepared the interviewee is and is when questions will be asked and answered. The more common interview questions used now are called “behavioral questions” otherwise known as “tell me a story” questions.

“If you’re unfamiliar with those types of questions, that’s going to be a tough interview,” said Williams.

It is common to get caught off-guard with these, the thing to remember is that they are asking for answer that follows the linear structure of talking about a situation, then describing an action that was taken and finally relaying the result of said action. Williams said if you want to impress a recruiter, tell them what you learned from the experience.

After you have answered questions you will be given the opportunity to ask questions of your own. One should be prepared for this as well in order to take full advantage of the potential information to be had.

The follow-up is important as well. Send follow-up email thank-you immediately and a thank-you letter by the next day. Also allow the employer some time to get back in touch with you.

Along with career services Washburn offers a course , where students  do mock interviews for class credit and in order to obtain more experience.

“First I went to BodJobs to look at jobs I’d possibly be interested in applying for,” and “I picked an internship since that’s what I’d most likely be needing that to graduate,” said Joshua White, a junior studying communications.

He then scheduled and went to his mock interview. White said It was very helpful to have access to professionals who do interviewing for a living and actually give feedback after the interview is done which doesn’t happen out in the real world.

Benaiah Phelps a senior studying computer information science took the chance in his mock interview to find out “was this an appropriate way to do this or what do I do when I’m here?”

You may be graduated already and be ready to implement the recommendations here and at career services, but if not, “If they have time especially when they are getting to their junior and senior years, looking for internships or jobs, they should probably check this out it doesn’t take that long and it is a very good experience,” said Phelps.