This week, the Careers Centre held a session presented by Ben Carter, a university careers adviser, on interview skills designed to teach students about how to succeed in an interview.

The session started off with a description of the kinds of activities interviews may entail, such as presentations, group exercises, case studies, and a shared meal. Regardless of the level of formality throughout these activities, your candidacy is constantly being evaluated in order for them to determine if you would be a proper fit for the company. All of the activities aforementioned are conversations, a two-way process involving mutual engagement.

Carter explained that preparation is the key to acing an interview. Not only in terms of knowing about the company, but knowing your own credentials and answers beforehand. This also allows you to prioritise what kind of information to share, and to address any concerns you may have had going into the interview. One essential factor to prepare is a positive mental outlook. Despite nerves and doubts, your presence at the interview site (or Skype Connection, or phone call) is indicative of your desirability.

Photo: Danielle Golds
Photo: Danielle Golds

Rapport building was another focus of the session; establishing a connection with your interviewers. Some of the tips Carter provided were: sit towards the edge of your seat and lean in to show you are paying attention, bring a pen and paper so you can take notes if necessary, remember the names and positions of the interviewers, dress up rather than down.

Carter then suggested some questions you can expect to hear in an interview. It is important to have distinctive answers prepared for questions interviewers are bound to ask. Some example or questions are: why have you applied for this role? What makes you want to work for us? It is also important to be aware of what they may ask about themselves as opposed to you. For example: What does our company do? Who are our customers? Who are our competitors?

When the questions get more specific like, give me an example of when you had to contribute to a team objective, or deal with a difficult customer or recover from a setback in your work. These are important to prepare for in advance but be careful not to recite a script. It is important to be genuine and straightforward about your experiences and what you learned from them.

The Careers Centre will be running another event on 15 April on how to write CVs and applications from 2 pm-3:30 pm.

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