Interview success depends on practice, politeness


We all probably know that nervous feeling that seems to haunt us before an important interview. We feel as if the last several years of college could be for nothing if we don’t nail that successful job.

In reality, if we prepare a little and follow tips from employers, interviews do not have to be so difficult.

Most students worry about what questions will be asked, how they can present themselves in a positive light, what they need to wear or whether they are 100 percent qualified for the job.

“I get nervous when I feel like I’m going to draw a mind blank in the middle of the interview,” Bryanna Wishcop, senior in business, said. “If I don’t practice or think of potential questions that could be asked, I feel completely unprepared.”

Be present, yourself

Employers look for people who are genuine, who have the ability to lead, who are team players and who have a passion for success.

“It’s so important to come into an interview confident in who you are as a person,” Danielle Jellison, sales intern manager at GTM Sportswear, said. “We can usually spot a fake Francine or a fake Freddy in about five minutes. Be you.”

Jellison said that during an interview, it is best to leave all technology in the car.

“We do not want to be asking a question and then get interrupted by your phone going off for an interview alarm reminder or notification that Daria Morgendorffer has liked 20 photos on Instagram,” Jellison said. “If you can’t go 30 minutes to an hour without your phone, then that shows us you probably will be the same way if we hire you.”

Be prepared

Another way to ensure your interview will go successfully is to prepare before the interview. Emily Jardine, retail sales representative at The Hershey Company and 2013 K-State alumna, said the best way to prepare for an interview is to practice. When speaking to a sales management class, Jardine suggested that students read the job descriptions, learn about the company and to prepare their resume.

Jardine said knowing exactly what job you are applying for, as well as a little about the organization’s history, is useful. You sound more intelligent when you do, and doing a little research beforehand can impress the interviewer.

Tailoring your resume to the company you are interviewing with will also help you stand out. You want to fill your resume with information that is specific to the job and not random activities that are unrelated. Find out what the company wants in an employee and make sure your resume makes you look capable.

Opportunities for mock interviews are available through Career and Employment Services located in Holtz Hall. Participating in a mock interview will help you feel more comfortable and will help you form stronger answers to typical interview questions. The office is also available for resume critiquing, and they offer gently-used business clothing at the Cat’s Closet.

At The Hershey Company, and many other businesses, two basic types of interview questions are used: behavior-based questions and S.T.A.R. questions.

Behavior-based questions discern what you have done in situations in the past. Rather than what you would do in a situation, they want to discover what you did do during something similar. They will use questions like, “When is a time you set a high goal for yourself and how did you attain that goal?”

S.T.A.R. questions ask for answers in the form of situation, task, action and result. The goal of these is to determine a candidate’s problem-solving skills. Questions like, “How did you solve a problem while being under the stress of a time crunch?” are typical S.T.A.R. questions. To navigate these questions, start by describing the setting and then what is needed to be done to solve the problem. The action is what you actually did to solve the problem. Finally, tell them the result of your actions and how the situation ended.

Jellison cautions against giving one-word answers.

“We do not like it when we ask you a question and you say, ‘Yes, no, or ok,'” Jellison said. “Elaborate.”

If you put in a little work your interview preparations and then relax during it, you will be surprised at how successful you may be. By understanding the company and tailoring yourself to fulfill their job requirements, you can land that dream job with that dream employer.