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Interviewing: Behavioral

Career Competencies Most Valued By Employers

The results are in… and for the past few years, critical thinking, teamwork, professionalism, and communication have been consistently rated by employers as the four most desired competencies according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Engaging in activities, projects, and experiences that develop these competencies will not only enhance your resume, but will also provide strong examples for upcoming interviews.

Most employers use behavioral based interviewing questions to learn from your past experiences and understand how you might approach a similar situation in the future. These questions require a specific example and often relate to a competency or personal characteristic. As a step in your interview preparation, reflect on the eight keys to career success and recount stories that show your mastery of the competency. This will help you anticipate question topics and recall the specifics of the situation. Using the STAR format to respond to questions ensures you … 

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Preparing for an On-Campus Interview

So you’ve taken all of our advice and now you’re preparing for your interview—bonus: it’s right here on campus! The company obviously likes you and thinks you’re qualified – so how do you make the most out of your interview? Follow these tips to prepare, and hopefully ace, this opportunity.

Prepare All of Your Materials

It seems simple, but having all of your materials prepared can show employers that you are organized and offer you some peace of mind. Having copies of your resume, cover letter, and questions ready to go for the interviewers and your own personal use is a worthwhile step in preparation.

Prepare Follow up Questions

At the end of every interview you’ll get the opportunity to talk with your interviewer or company representative, and this is a crucial step in the process. They’ll expect you to ask questions, so make sure you come with a few … 

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"Tell Me About Yourself." What Do You Want to Know?

The dreaded “Tell me about yourself” question seems simple enough, but it’s the one that trips up many candidates during interviews. It’s such a broad question—what exactly do employers want to know about you? Since this question is usually one of the first asked, having a polished and well thought out response can be the difference between starting with a great impression or getting off on the wrong foot.

While this question seems broad, it is important to remember you are in an interview. Therefore, irrelevant personal information is not necessary to include. An ideal response would offer a brief academic summary and a quick highlight of strengths and relevant experience. Finish out your answer by connecting how your experience and skills support the needs of the position for which you are applying.

If you haven’t already, reflect on why an employer should hire you and why you want to … 

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Tips for Acing Your Interview

When meeting with students I frequently get asked these two questions in regards to interviews: “How can I make the best impression?” and “How can I avoid giving damaging answers?” While these are great questions, usually a hiring decision is not based on one thing that went really well or really poorly. Oftentimes the final decision is a combination of pros and cons given throughout the interview. With that in mind, here are a few tips that will help you demonstrate how you are the best candidate.

Research the company – Every company has different goals, values, and ideals that shape the culture for their employees. A large part of landing a job and ultimately being successful is your fit within the company. Doing research on the employer means learning about what they find important. Look at their mission statement, corporate values, and recent news events. Then, you can show how … 

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Finding Balance: Soft Skills and Technical Skills

Being prepared to talk about your strengths and to support them is a common interview tip. Many of us cite soft skills such as teamwork, adaptability, or communication as some of our answers, but may fall short when highlighting technical skills. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reported in 2017 that “a composite ‘ideal’ employee… [is] a hard-working individual with appropriate technical training…solid problem-solving skills, and the abilities to communicate well, work in teams, and to continually learn new things.” Finding an appropriate balance between soft and hard skills shows that you are a well-rounded candidate.

What are the main differences between hard (technical) skills and soft skills?

Hard skills can be learned or taught. Think of the skills you have developed thus far in your academic career. Have you learned how to program? Do you have a lot of experience using a certain software system? Do … 

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