Ohio University

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Interviewing

Prepare thoroughly for your interview so you can effectively communicate about yourself, your qualifications, and the organization of interest. We highly recommend scheduling a mock interview with an experienced CLDC coach or completing a virtual interview on Big Interview to practice and sharpen your interview skills anytime.

In addition to mock interviews and coaching, our workshops and events offer the chance to get practical experience while building your network. 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Interview Preparation: In Person Interviews

  • Review the job descriptions, your resume, and your cover letter prior to the interview to prepare
  • Test any presentation software or other technology you will use in advance of the interview
  • Prepare questions to ask the interviewer at the end of your interview
  • Turn off your cell phone to eliminate embarrassing ring tones or vibration sounds
  • Dress professionally and comfortably (use the CLDC Career Closet to expand your wardrobe)
  • Plan to arrive 5-10 minutes early for your appointment 
  • Offer a copy of your resume to the interviewer

Interview Preparation: Remote Interviews (Phone or Video)

  • Test out your video or telephone connection in advance of the appointment to verify a strong connection
  • Select a spot for your interview with good light and no distracting decorations
  • Conduct a practice call to test the system and to see how your interview spot looks 
  • Determine whether you will initiate the interview or whether they will contact you
  • Be prepared to join the meeting at the scheduled time
  • Eliminate any distractions prior to phone and video interviews including phones, music, pets, and children
  • Mute any notifications on your device to eliminate other noise during your interview
  • Prepare questions to ask the interviewer at the end of your interview
  • Dress professionally and comfortably (use the CLDC Career Closet to expand your wardrobe)
  • Offer a copy of your resume to the interviewer

Prepare Potential Answers

Spend some time thinking about yourself and what skills and qualities you will need to be successful in a position. Consider using the playbooks on Big Interview to customize your preparation even further based on your unique interview circumstances (examples: new graduate, military transition, English as a second language). 

  • Why am I applying for this position? 
  • Prepare your "pitch" (also called and elevator speech or introduction). Include things like what school you are attending, what you are studying, your internships, student organizations, volunteer and job experiences. Avoid personal details that are not relevant to the interaction.
  • What are the most important things or experiences that I want the interviewer to know about me? 
  • What are my 3 biggest strengths and examples I have that are job related? 
  • What is my biggest weakness, and what I am doing to work on it? 
  • What are my career goals (long and short-term)? 
  • How do my personal values relate to the position I’m applying for? To the mission of the organization?
  • What examples can I share to highlight the following skills as they relate to the job? (examples: self-awareness, team development, interpersonal communication, adaptability, problem solving, intercultural competency, innovation, well-being)

Behavioral Based Interview Questions and the STAR Method

Behavioral based interview questions are any questions that ask for an example. For example, "Tell us about a time when you had to resolve a conflict with a coworker." These types of prompts request specific answers that show the skills you have and how those skills will impact the job you seek.

Use the STAR method to answer behavioral interview questions: Situation, Task, Action, Result. To help you prepare for your interview, use the STAR method to develop a story related to each skill area below, as well as skills relevant to the position you are applying for. When telling your story, describe the Situation you were in, the Task you needed to accomplish, the Actions you took to accomplish said task and the Results of your experience. You can also reference the CLDC's STAR worksheet to practice developing STAR responses. For example, if your interviewer asks, tell me about a time you had to be adaptable, you could say:

  • Situation: When I was working in my internship this summer at a local bank, all of the tellers were out one day and no staff were available to provide service to customers.
  • Task: I needed to figure out a way to support customers and help out my supervisor, who was the only person supporting customers that day due to staff absences.
  • Action: I asked my supervisor if I could help answer customer's questions and assist with transactions because I already completed cash handling training with the bank earlier in the summer. I also volunteered to stay past my scheduled shift to help, if needed.
  • Result: My supervisor was thrilled I asked for help because she thought she would be the only person assisting customers all day at the teller stations. She thanked me for volunteering to help. I was able to assist more than 50 customers that day, who were appreciative they could complete their financial transactions without having to come back to the bank another time. 

Research the Organization

Knowledge of the organization and the services it provides is essential and expected. The more you know about the organization, the industry, and the position you are being considered for and how all of these things relate to your career goals, the more effective you will be in an interview. Use the questions below to prepare for your interview.

  • What are the organization’s mission and values? 
  • What are the services/products/programs this organization provides? 
  • What are the organization’s short and long-term goals?
  • What else is the organization known for (for example, community involvement or a relaxed atmosphere)? 
  • What challenges/difficulties does this organization face? How can I help solve them? 

Prepare Questions for Your Interviewer 

Preparing appropriate questions for your interviewer is a must. Your questions should demonstrate your interest in the position and your desire to work for the organization. Avoid questions regarding salary and benefits. Additionally avoid questions that you can easily find the answers to like “what is the company’s mission?”. Prepare at least 3-5 questions in advance. Examples of questions include:

  • What is your timeline for making this hiring decision?
  • What would success look like in this position?
  • What type of training will be provided to help onboard the person selected for this role?
  • What do you like about working here?
  • What is a challenge facing your work right now?
  • What is something you are proud of at work?

Salary Negotiation

Negotiating for salary and benefits is really intimidating for a lot of us. Many people just feel lucky to have a job offer so they can stop searching. It is critical to go into the negotiating process knowing the average salary for your industry and location, along with what benefits (examples – insurance, educational benefits, retirement savings, parking, vacation and sick time) are included in the offer. Use the quick checklists below as a guide for planning to negotiate successfully. Consider talking through your strategy with a CLDC coach to build up your confidence.

Before you get an offer

  • Network with people you know in the field to learn about how salaries and benefits vary by organization and city 
  • Calculate the cost of living after graduation including rent, transportation, clothing, food, and loan payments, along with the salary you need to meet the basic cost of living 
  • Use your research to quantify a pay range based on your qualifications and your field 
  • Do not base a target salary on personal bills, your ideal salary, or what your friends are making 
  • Your goal salary should be in line with other similar positions and reflect your level of experience 
  • Prepare for the offer to be given over the phone or by email following an interview

When you get an offer

  • Enthusiastically thank the employer for the job offer 
  • Ask about benefits, if not shared in the offer, including insurance, retirement, vacation and sick leave 
  • Ask for the offer in writing to confirm the salary and benefits information 
  • Determine when you can follow up with the employer (24 hours is typically a reasonable amount of time)

Negotiation considerations

  • Have a strategy for why you would negotiate more money or additional benefits 
  • Skills above and beyond the requirements for the position 
  • Calculate a salary increase that is reasonable based on the initial offer, the market, cost of living, and the company 
  • Have a figure in mind when you return the call to negotiate the offer 
  • If you are uncomfortable about starting the conversation, ask if the salary and benefits are negotiable. If salary is not flexible, consider benefits that may be negotiable: 
    • Specific technology needed for the position 
    • Relocation expenses 
    • Parking or public transportation reimbursement 
    • Flexible scheduling or telecommuting 
    • Fitness center membership 
    • Funds for continuing education 
    • Position title 
    • Vacation time 
    • Daycare support 
    • Office environment needs (e.g. window, enclosed office) 
    • Money toward professional clothing (especially if a certain look or quality is expected) 

Formally accept or decline the offer within the agreed-upon amount of time with the employer.

Featured Resources

Big Interview

Use Big Interview to learn and practice your interview skills, whether you’re interviewing for a job or graduate school. Log in to this resource with your OHIO credentials.

CLDC STAR Worksheet

Use this worksheet to help you prepare detailed STAR responses for behavioral-based interview questions in your next interview.

Salary.com 

Use this tool to conduct salary research by position type and location. A cost of living calculator is also available.

Payscale

This site allows you to create pay report for your position based on your job type and location.