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Job Search and Informational Interviews

Job interviews can be terrifying! Many people believe there is little you can do before an interview to prepare, but in fact there are plenty of ways to showcase your best self on the day.

Informational interviews are conducted when you want to know more about an industry or area of work; you contact a person who is doing a job that you would like to learn more about. 

For more information, please see the following handout.

 Informational Interview handout.pdfInformational Interview handout.pdf


More on Interviews​

Before your Interview

​Contact the Human Resources department to ask for a job description and find out as much as you can about the interview format. Get to know the organization by visiting the company’s website, obtaining information about industry trends, reading related newspaper articles, talking to employees, etc. Then, assess your skills and abilities (ask a friend or co-worker what they perceive as your strengths and weaknesses). 

Practice typical interview questions by finding examples online (look for behavioral-type questions on Google). Usually, interview questions ask you to:

  • Describe your skills, education, and experience, and relate them to the requirements of the position.

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

  • Why did you apply for that position, and why should they hire you?

  • Give an example of a problem you faced in your past work experience(s) and how you solved it.

 

Being Interviewed

First impressions are important — pay attention to dress and grooming. Be on time, act confidently, and be pleasant to everyone. Try to avoid nervous habits (e.g. do not hold a pen unless writing something down). Let the interviewer set the tone – formal or informal. It is helpful to bring a copy of your resume to use as a reference and to jog your memory about important points. 

Stay on topic when answering questions — take the time to think about your answer by writing out the question on a piece of paper before answering. Be sure to relate your education, skills, and experience as needed based on the question asked.

 
If asked behavioral-based questions, use the S.T.A.R. method to respond:

S: Situation - Explain what your responsibility was - or predicament.

T: Task - Outline what steps you saw as necessary for success.

A: Action - Describe how you made a decision and who you included.

R: Result - Were you successful?  Did you accomplish your goals?

Lastly, always ask questions when given an opportunity. The interview is a chance for you to get to know the company better. This is also your opportunity to showcase your knowledge of what the job is, and to find out more about what it entails. 

 
After the Interview
Reflect on your performance so you can improve, and be better prepared, for your next interview (e.g. what to avoid). 
The more you practice and interview, the better your performance will become in subsequent interviews, and with it, your chances of obtaining your ideal job.
 
If you are not chosen for the position, ask for feedback - it's a great opportunity to help you learn if, and where, you may need to improve. However, prepare yourself for a possible generic or vague response. 
 

A Note about References

​References only come into play after the interview. References should always be a supervisor or someone who had the authority to fire or fail you. Include at least 2-3 references. 

To the interview, bring with you a list of your references, containing their name, position, company, address, and contact information (phone, e-mail, work address), and a short description of your relationship to them (supervisor, co-worker, etc.).​​​​

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