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Interviewing: General Advice

The view from the other side of the interview desk, Part I

Engineering Career Services is excited to present guest writer, Carmen LaTorre who is an Advanced Engineer with Owens Corning. This blog will be a two part series, with the first part focusing on the Interviewee and the second part on the Interviewer...

You sit in the ECS waiting area in your formal business attire. One foot nervously taps the floor. You run through your notes and try to organize your thoughts one last time. You’ve anticipated every question and memorized every accomplishment. You’re ready to show why you’re the best candidate for the job. Suddenly you hear the recruiter call your name…it’s time to interview!

I’ve had the privilege to be on both sides of the interview desk at Ohio State University, first as a BS and MS student seeking mechanical engineering internships and full-time positions, and now as an interviewer for Owens Corning for the past 3 years. The … 

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Stress in a Good Way

I remember my first on-campus interview. I was so nervous I did not know what to say. I wore my roommate's jacket with the piano pin on it. I never played piano and was embarrassed to let the interviewer know that when he asked about it. Fortunately, I was honest and explained that I wanted to look as polished as possible for the interview and had to borrow a jacket.

I see many of you waiting in our lobby for your interviews and can tell you are nervous too (and some of you may be wearing your roommate's jacket). A little stress is a good thing, as long as you use it in a positive way. Prepare for that interview, get a haircut, polish your dress shoes and iron your best or borrowed clothes. So, when the interviewer calls your name, stand up, smile as you approach, and extend your … 

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Interviewing Part II: What Not to Say

 

 

 

 

Here’s what is “off the table” during an interview…

• Salary, benefits, perks, vacation, etc. These are not appropriate questions during the interview stage…asking them might give an employer the wrong impression about you (that money is your only concern, that you are assuming you already have the job, etc.). Once an offer is formally extended, then these topics are up for discussion.

I would also recommend against…

• Asking anything that’s obviously stated on the employer’s website or materials that you have been given in advance about the company. You don’t want to appear ill-prepared by asking what you should already know.

One last tip…

• When asked the question, “Why do you want this job?”—a good answer never includes, “because I want more experience.” Of course you want more experience…who doesn’t?! But this doesn’t sell you at all to a recruiter. When … 

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Interviewing Part I: What to Say

When I’m conducting interview workshops, many students want me to provide them with the answers to specific questions. That’s not really helpful (and I bet you know already know why)…because every interview is different. Answers vary based on the person answering the questions and the company conducting the interview. One piece of advice though, that is very important is this: prior to the interview, be sure to thoroughly review the job description and/or the company website and identify at least 3-5 aspects of that specific job and that specific company that not only appeals to you, but also matches up well with your qualifications and background. Also ask yourself: what more do I want to know?

Expanding on this concept, it’s important to ask early on in an interview…”what qualities is your company looking for in a candidate?” Asking this key question early on can help you frame your answers … 

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