Preparing for Interviews

Finding Your Strengths and Skills:

Self-Testing Quiz
This self-help quiz can help you learn to identify your transferable skills and marketable personal traits—and recognize accomplishments that you didn’t previously notice or fully appreciate.

Now…Ask yourself these questions.

  1. Good friends count on each other for lots of things. What do YOUR friends count on you for?

  2. What does your FAMILY count on you for?

  3. IF one of your closest friends were to boast about you, what would they say?

  4. IF YOU felt totally comfortable bigging up yourself, what would you boast about? What are you most PROUD of?

  5. Do you have any volunteer or community service experience that you’re proud of? (For example, youth club, church, community organization, sports team)

  6. What DIFFICULTIES or barriers have you overcome, to get where you are now?

  7. Describe something you DESIGNED, CREATED, built, made, or fixed up, that gave you a strong sense of satisfaction. Tell why you feel good about it.

  8. Which subjects are you best at in school? Why did you enjoy those particular studies?

  9. What PRAISE or acknowledgement do you get from your teachers?

  10. What do you KNOW so well—or DO so well—that you could teach it to others? What’s the MAIN TIP you’d tell people about how to do that LIKE A PRO?

  11. Name about TEN QUALITIES or characteristics of OTHER PEOPLE that you most respect or admire.

  12. Think of a PROBLEM that came up that had other people stumped, but that YOU were able to do something about, to improve the situation. What did YOU do? What does that say about your abilities?

Interviewing TIPS

  • Plan Ahead: Do a little ‘homework’ on the company or the person you are hoping to work for.

  • Role Play: Prepare for the interview by practicing what the interview may be like with a friend, family member, teacher or mentor.

  • Maintain Eye Contact: Show the interviewer that you are interested and you’re listening.

  • Encourage: Ask your interviewer to share information about the company. Things that they consider to be important and how they see the company in the future. This shows interest in the company and not just wanting a job to get money.

  • Be Positive: Do not speak badly about people you know in authority.


Some Interview Questions: Questions You May be Asked:

  • Tell me about yourself?

  • What do you know about our company?

  • Why should we hire you?

  • What can you do for us that someone else can’t?

  • What is the most significant accomplishment you have ever achieved?

  • Why do you want to work for us?

  • What other jobs have you looked for?

  • What are your career goals?

  • What are your strong points?

  • What are your weak points?

  • How did u do in school?

  • What position do you want to do in your life in 2 to 5 years?

  • Do you have your reference list with you? (Remember don’t give it out unless asked for.)

  • What questions didn’t I ask that you expected?

  • Do you have any question for me?


Some Interview Questions: Questions you may want to ask the Interviewer

  • Why is the position open?

  • What would you like done different by the next person who fills this position?

  • What is most urgent? What would you like to have done in the next 3 months?

  • How is someone evaluated in this position?

  • What defines success with the company?

Big Don’ts on a Job Interview

3 Most Common Mistakes

  1. Being unaware of the Non-Verbal (Action speak louder than words.)

  2. Using Poor Verbal Communication Skills

  3. Not Asking Questions

10 Oh No’s!

1. Poor Handshake:

  • Limp Hand

  • Tip of the Fingers

  • The Arm Pump

2. Talking Too Much:

  • Taking too long to answer direct questions. Not getting to the point.

  • Nervous talkers, Seem to be covering up or lying about information

3. Talking Negatively About People in Authority

  • No matter what teachers or other persons in authority have done to you, don’t express them to a potential boss. He or she will only think that you will speak badly about them too.

4. Showing up late or too early

  • If you’re late, they will think that you are not dependable and may waste time on the job, not getting things done.

  • If you’re too early, you seem desperate. Showing up 15 minutes early shows that you value your own time and you are a productive person who does not have time to sit around waiting. Why? Time is money.

5. Treating the Receptionist, Security or another Staff Person Rudely:

  • These persons usually meets or observes you before the “boss” does. They usually give their impression of you after or sometimes even before you have the interview. Treat EVERYONE with respect AT ALL TIMES. Whether you get the job or not.

6. Asking About Benefits, Vacation Time or Salary

  • Wait until you have won the favor of the employer before beginning that discussion.

7. Not Preparing For the Interview

  • Nothing communicates disinterest like someone who hasn’t bothered to find out about the company before the interview. While the opposite is, if you do get good information, your questions will reflect your knowledge of the information that you should be taken seriously and will be a good person to have in the company.

8. Verbal Ticks

  • The first sign of nervousness are verbal ticks. “Umm” “Like” “You know” “Uhh” “Hmmm”. Ignore the twisting in your stomach and put up an image of calm confidence. It also helps if you take a second to pause and gather your thoughts before answering each response.

9. Not Enough/Too much eye contact

  • When you don’t make eye contact you may seem shifty, untruthful or disinterested. Too much and the interviewer can actually get tired and feel uncomfortable.

10. Failure to Match Communication Styles

  • To be your best in an interview, you must learn how to “mirror” the way the interviewer treats you. Example 1: If the interviewer seems all business, don’t try to loosen him/her up with a joke or story. Be business like. Example 2: If the interviewer is personable, try discussing his/her interests. Example 3: If asked a direct question, answer directly. Then follow up by asking if more information is needed.

Allowing the interviewer to set the tone of conversation can improve your chances of making a good impression.