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Interviewing: Behavioral

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. 25 – 31, 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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Put the "I" in Your Interviews

So many of us are conditioned to understand and appreciate the importance of teamwork. Teamwork, of course, is unavoidable in most work environments, and we all want to talk about how good we work collectively. Nobody wants to sounds arrogant by bragging about their accomplishments. But, there is one situation in particular where talking about yourself is socially acceptable – and that is a job interview.

Of course an employer wants to hear that you have made successful contributions to teams. But they also want to know the “I” and not just the “we”. Unless you’ll be bringing your entire team to your new job, an interviewer wants to know what your specific successes and capabilities are.

Think about the STAR method for behavioral-based questions. As a refresher, STAR is an acronym for situation, task, action, and result. You use this method to respond to questions that start something like … 

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Preparing for Interviews

Do you ever feel like there are some things you just can’t prepare for? If you do, you're not alone.  A quick Google search on things that are impossible to prepare for yielded quite a list including: taking the polar plunge in 32 degree water, what stinky tofu tastes like, and LeBron James. It’s a fact that some things will come up in your life that make planning difficult. Thankfully, job interviewing is not one of them.

The fact is, there are so many basic patterns and standard questions in interviews that there's really no excuse to walk into one unprepared. All you really need to do is learn the typical questions/question types you may be asked and then practice. One of the best resources ECS has to help students in their interview preparation is Big Interview: an online mock interview tool available to registered students, acccessible through CareerEngine … 

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How to Answer Behavioral Based Interview Questions

ECS Graduate Advisor, Meg Flood, is lending her extensive interview training experience to today's blog...

Interviewer: "Tell me about a time when you took initiative."

You (sweating, nervous, breaking out in hives): "Umm. Well. You know…..I do that all the time!"

If the above has ever happened to you, you're not alone. Interviewing is a scary thing especially when you don’t feel prepared to talk about a time you persuaded someone to see your way. Or you can’t remember a time when you handled a difficult situation. The key to answer these types of questions (and avoid the sweating, filler words, and hives) is to prepare and know the right formula.

Preparation is the key to answering behavioral based questions. Be sure to begin preparing for your interview in advance (the night before is not in advance). Go through experiences on your resume including projects, past work experience … 

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