The essential components of interviewing — Jessica’s Career Tip of the Week

Now that Fulton Schools Fall Virtual Career Fair days are over, it is time to conduct your interviews with potential employers. At the present time, you may be interviewing with a campus recruiter or you may be conducting your interviews with companies that you found via networking or job search websites. If you have landed an interview…CONGRATS! At this stage, you have already completed all the preliminary work (i.e., applied to the company with your well written resume, conducted research on the company and have also established your familiarity with the industry). The question you may be asking yourself is “What are my next steps?”

In order to ensure that the interview process is successful, there are certain aspects that will round you as a potential candidate for the position. During the interview, employers will be assessing how well you fit with the organization. As an interviewee, you are essentially bridging the gap between your self-knowledge (i.e., values, interests, skills and personality) and your occupational knowledge (i.e., what do you know about the organization?). In order to bridge the gap between self-knowledge and occupational knowledge, the following questions may be asked:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you choose your major?
  • Give examples of your technical skills.
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What are your strengths and/or weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

While some of these more traditional interviewing questions that I just mentioned may be more straightforward, especially if you know yourself well or have acquired previous academic or work experiences to round out your answers, interviewers may want to know about your future successes through your past behavior. These types of interviews are called Behavioral Interviews. Examples of behavioral interviewing questions are the following:

  • Tell me about a successful project that you have completed.
  • Tell me how you have settled a conflict in the past.
  • Give an example of how you set goals and achieved them.
  • Describe a project that you managed.

Depending on the behavioral question that is asked by the employer, and in order to successfully execute a comprehensive answer, it is VERY important to apply the STAR technique:

Situation — What is the specific situation that you would like to discuss?

Task — Provide specific details of what your responsibilities were in that situation.

Action — Describe how you completed the task and focus on what you did through action steps.

Result — Finally, explain the result or outcome through the actions that you took.

At the end of the interview, an employer may ask you, “Do you have any questions for me today?” In order to demonstrate your interest in the position, you will ALWAYS want to have at least 2-3 questions ready to ask the employer. The idea here is to ask questions that you are not able to research from the employer’s website. Here are a few examples:

  • What have high performing new hires done to be successful in this role?
  • What would you say are the three most important skills needed to excel in this position?

While most of you have acquired the necessary technical skills from your engineering curriculum, it is of utmost importance to also make sure that you are prepared to apply and provide examples of the NACE career competencies in your interview sessions. The NACE career competencies are the following: teamwork/collaboration, career management, digital technology, critical thinking/problem solving, professionalism/work ethic, global/intercultural fluency, leadership, and oral/written communication skills.

See more interviewing tips in this PowerPoint presentation.