Interview Challenge


It is important to practice your interview technique.  Practice makes perfect.  The Career Services departments are available to schedule Mock Interviews so that you are prepared to provide the best answers to employers on your interview.  Here are a few questions along with preferred answers that you can use when practicing your interview skills.

  1. Question: Tell me about yourself? This question is usually the first question an interviewer will ask. It is important to have a “tailored answer” to this question that focuses on what is important to the interviewer. The interviewer is trying to get a feel for what the applicant deems important about themselves. They are also trying to get a sense of whether or not you truly understand which experiences, skills and abilities are relevant for the position the graduate is applying for. This is an unstructured question and one that will make or break the interview. Remember to tell our students and graduates that it’s more about the interviewer than it is about them. Focus on the skills needed to do the job they are interviewing for.
  2. Question: What is your strength? This question allows the candidate to focus on the good qualities that the employer may be looking for. Answering this question using positive adjectives such as reliable, punctual, dependable, or excellent communicator is the best way to demonstrate to an employer that you will be an asset to their office.
  3. Question: What is your weakness? For every strength, there are also weaknesses. This question sometimes causes students to seem as though they are perfect! Besides, who wants to point out the negative behaviors? The best way to answer this question is to acknowledge the weakness, but with a positive twist. Answer: “My weakness is not being able to say no. I tend to take on more task than I am able to finish. However, I am working to become more aware of this and instead of immediately saying yes, I respond by saying let me get back to you with an answer tomorrow. This gives me an opportunity to check my schedule and ensure I am not overcommitting myself.” This is a tailored answer that all students should have perfected. Whatever the weakness is, practice with your Career Services team on how to communicate it with a positive twist.
  4. Question: Why should I hire you? This is another opportunity to remind the employer about your strengths and any other positive attributes that may cause you to stand out from other applicants. Also be prepared to give examples of how your strength has been demonstrated. Answer: “You should hire me for this position because I am dependable. My classmates always counted on me to help them study for test and work on projects because they knew I was always in class and paying attention.”
  5. Question: Do you have any questions for me? This is the interviews way of bringing the interview to a close. This is also a great time to show your level of interest in the position. Answer: “Yes, I would like to know what the schedule would be.” or “Do you have a specific dress code in your office?” or “What are you looking for in an ideal employee? Do you feel I meet the requirements for the job?”

Practice makes perfect!  Make an appointment with your Career Services office to learn more about how to answer interview questions.  Good luck in the process!

The Most Important Thing to Take on an Interview

The day has arrived and you are preparing for your first interview. You have worked hard to learn a new skill. You have studied and passed your certification exam. You have a copy of your diploma, transcript and certificates demonstrating great attendance and grade point averages in your portfolio. You have multiple copies, ready to leave one behind for anyone that asks. You have prepared an award winning resume. Your interview attire is perfect- clean and ironed. You have studied the top 10 questions you could be asked on an interview and you have prepared answers for all of them. But, there is still something missing. Self-Confidence.

The one thing that will win an employer over is a candidate that possesses self-confidence. Self-confidence is a magnet for success. It means that you believe in your own skills, goals, and ability to succeed. In an article posted in the Time Management Ninja, the author lists 10 reasons that self-confidence leads to success.

 10 Reasons That Self-Confidence Leads to Success:

  1. The Drive to Start Things – Confident people start things. They are not shy about striking out on a new idea even when those around them are still pondering it.
  2. The Ability to Stand Up for Oneself – Confidence allows you to stand up for yourself in a fair and consistent manner. Otherwise, you may find yourself unheard or unfairly treated.
  3. The Ability to Say No – Confident people have the ability to say “No” where appropriate. They do not take on unnecessary or inappropriate work or obligations.
  4. The Ability to Say Yes – And at the same time, confident individuals say “Yes” to opportunity. They do not miss new options because they are shy. I have seen individuals pass up opportunities (even promotions) because they didn’t think they were “worthy”.
  5. Confidence Overcomes Fear – Lack of confidence can lead to paralysis from fear. Fear of failure. Fear of what others think. Fear of the unknown. To succeed, you need the confidence to face and overcome your fears.
  6. Believe In Themselves – Self-confidence means believing in yourself. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” He was right.
  7. Set the Bar High Enough – Confident individuals set the bar high and aim high. Lack of confidence leads to weak goals, setting the bar too low, and mediocre results.
  8. Stretch Your Limits – Confidence lets you know your limits and test them. By stretching your limits you increase them. You are stronger than you think.
  9. Confidence Asks Questions – Confidence allows you to ask questions, even when others are silent. Confidence even lets you “ask for the job”.
  10. Believe In Winning – Confident people believe in success. And more importantly, they believe in their ability to succeed.

As you prepare to land your new career opportunity, consider the most important thing you can take with you, self-confidence. When you believe in yourself, you stand out in the crowd and you will always have good success!

To ensure that you’re prepared make an appointment with your Career Services team.

Written by: Shaundra Hamilton, Ancora Education – Vice President of Career Services