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Interviewing: Behavioral

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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Conquering One-Way Recorded Interviews

One-way recorded video (on-demand) interviewing, otherwise known as “asynchronous” interviews, are on the rise and since it can be somewhat awkward for candidates, it is all the better to be prepared! What exactly are these types of interviews, you ask? They are conducted with software that companies use for distance interviewing that takes the place of an actual “live” person asking you the questions.

There are 2 kinds: either the employer will request a video from the candidate in which you answer pre-scripted questions due by a certain deadline OR in the video interview, you will be the only one visible but you’ll hear an interviewer ask you the questions. Certain software might only allow a specific number of attempts at answering the question, so being prepared will ensure that you provide an impressive response with the time and attempts allotted. Here are a few tips to ensure your success with … 

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Eliminating Pre-Interview Nerves

You landed an interview - Congratulations! You tell your friends, call your folks, and maybe even share with a professor. You bask in the “what’s possible” for a while, but soon the “what’s imminent” sets in and you start to worry. …What will they ask me? …What will I say? …Will they like me?

Channel that nervous energy. Use it to prepare for the interview rather than fret about it. You can do a Google search to find advice ranging from getting enough rest, exercise, and proper diet to using imagery and power poses. All of that can be helpful, but the best use of your time and energy would be in preparation.

To prepare you with what to expect and how to respond to interviewers, ECS suggests using any/all of the resources below.

  • ECS Student Handbook – The section on interviewing, located on pp. 28 – 36, gives concrete … 
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"That Didn't Go So Well." How to Avoid or Recover from Awkward Job Search Moments

We have all had at least one—an awkward job search moment that makes you panic even more than you already were.  While I maintain that preparation is key to success, I also understand that sometimes we cannot anticipate situations. And other times (let’s be honest) we just weren’t prepared. Here are a few job search concerns I’ve heard from students and ways to recover or respond.

You can’t think of a response to the behavioral interview question:

First of all, brief silence is OK. If you take a moment to gather your thoughts, you will likely be able to come up with a response. What happens if you can’t? Stay calm, cool, and collected. Let the interviewer know that you are unable to think of a response at the moment and ask if you can come back to the question.

“That’s a great question. I know I have an example … 

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