Stages of the Interview
1. Introduction/breaking the ice - The interviewer and candidate establish rapport with each other to create a relaxed atmosphere for the interview.
2. Asking questions/verifying information - The interviewer asks the candidate questions to learn and assess skills and qualifications and to discover the candidate's personal qualities.
3. Answering candidate's questions/promoting the organization - The interviewer answers the candidate's questions about the position and organization to clarify any information not answered in the candidate's research, and provides information to help the candidate assess his or her interest in the position.
4. Closing the interview - The interviewer explains the decision-making process and what will happen next, and requests any other materials needed (i.e. transcripts, etc.). Candidate restates interest in the position and thanks the interviewer for the opportunity to interview. Set parameters for the next contact. Candidate should find out what the next step is and/or when to expect to hear from the organization.
5. Decision-making/recording of information - The interviewer completes an evaluation form assessing the candidate's suitability for the position. The candidate writes down comments about the interview to remember what happened to better evaluate his or her performance and further interest in the organization.
Tough Questions and Strategies
1. "TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF"
This is commonly used as an icebreaker, an opportunity to see your reactions, body language, etc., and a chance to find out about your job skills. In your answer: give a brief introduction, tell your key accomplishments, key strengths related to these accomplishments, why these are important to the employer, and how you see yourself fitting into the position/organization you're applying for.
2. "WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?"
Do not be negative, however, do not try to give a fluff answer or pretend that you are perfect. Always tell how you are working on your weakness or what you have learned from it. You want to give the picture that you know yourself well.
For example: "Sometimes I ask too many questions about what I am told to do to make sure that I will do it right. As I become more confident in my job I'm learning to work without quite so much supervision."
3. "WHAT IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION YOU MADE DURING YOUR INTERNSHIP (or "x" experience)/ WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?"
Try to think of accomplishments which might be most related to the position you are applying for, something that will be an asset to the organization and will demonstrate initiative or resilience. If possible tell about a specific accomplishment that added value to the organization, be sure to tell about outcomes.
4. "WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF 5 YEARS FROM NOW/WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS?"
The interviewer may be trying to ascertain whether your goals fit with the organization, what expectations you have of the organization, and if you are goal directed and plan ahead. If you desire advancement and have leadership aspirations try not to come across as too pushy.
For example: "I understand that my growth within this organization will depend on my job performance and the growth of the organization. I have demonstrated leadership characteristics in my past jobs and activities and hope to have continually greater management responsibilities in the future."
What to Ask When it is Your Turn
If you have done your research on the organization and know what job factors are most important to you, you will be able to ask well thought-out questions. Do not ask obvious questions that are answered by reading the organization's literature, as this will only reflect your lack of adequate preparation. Make sure you know what will be expected of you in the job and the amount of contact you will have with your supervisor. Some areas you may wish to ask questions about include the following.