INTERVIEWING

 

INTERVIEWING

The employment interview is the method employers use to decide whether or not to offer a candidate a position. Typically the candidate talks to one or more people, either singly or in groups, who have the authority to offer a position – to obligate the company contractually. Since the interview is critically important, you need to perform effectively. To interview successfully, you need to prepare well, use social tact, perform gracefully, ask questions, and understand the job offer (Stewart and Cash 188-192). Prepare Well To prepare well, you must investigate the company and analyze how you can contribute to it. You can investigate the company in many ways. After you are invited to an interview, ask your contact person for some company literature. Spend time in your library reference room to find information use annual reports, descriptions in Moody’s, items from Facts on File, FdS Index, Wall Street Journal Index, or Corporate Report Fact Bank. After you have analyzed the company, analyze what you have to offer; analyze how you can fit into the company. Answer these questions: What contributions can you make to the company? How do-your specific skills and strengths fit into its activities or philosophy?
How can you further your career goals with this company? The more you prepare, the better you will be able to provide clear examples that illustrate how you satisfy the company’s needs.

Use Social fact

To use social tact means to act professionally and in an appropriate manner. Acting too lightly or too intensely are both incorrect. First impressions are extremely important; many interviewers make up their minds early in ‘he interview. Follow a few common sense guidelines:

• .Shake hands firmly.
• Dress professionally, as you would on the job.
• Arrive on time.
• Use proper grammar and enunciation. .
• Watch your body language – sit appropriately, don’t give the impression of lounging. .
• Find out and use the interviewers’ names.

Perform Well

Performing well in the interview means to answer the questions directly and clearly. Interviewers want to know about your skills, rm;:,dy from your work experience but also from your academic experience. Since this information is essential for them, be prepared to ‘discuss it. You must be willing to talk about yourself and your achievements; if you respond honestly to questions, your answers will not seem like bragging. So-called stress interviews, in which the interviewer tries to insult you and rattle your composure are rare. For a successful interview, follow these guidelines:

• Be yourself. The worst thing is to get a job because people thought you were a kind of person that you’re not. If you lose a job because
of who you honestly are, you’re better off.
• Answer questions freely; don’t withhold facts.
• Answer the question asked.
• Be honest – if you don’t know the answer, say so.
• If you don’t understand a question, ask the interviewer to repeat or clarify it.
• Be sincerely interested in the company; your sincere interest can overcome’ other deficiencies in your candidacy.
• In your answers, include facts about your experience to show how you will fit into the company.

Ask Questions

You have the right to ask questions at an interview. After all, it’s your life. If no one has-explained the following items to you, you should ask about them:

• methods of on-the-job training
• your job responsibilities
• types of support available – from secretarial to facilities to pursuit of more education
• possibility and probability of promotion
• policies about relocating, including whether you get a promotion when you relocate and whether refusing to relocate will hurt chances
for promotion

• salary and fringe benefits – you should know at least a salary range and whether or not you receive medical benefits

If an interviewer is reluctant to answer these questions, you might be dealing with a group that has personnel difficulties. This reluctance could be a negative factor in your decision. The Offer Usually a company will offer the position – with a salary and starting date – either at the end of the interview or within a few days. You have the right to request a reasonable amount of time to consider the offer. If you get another offer from a second company at a higher salary, you have the right to inform the first company and to ask it they ~an meet the salary. Usually you accept the offer verbally and sign a contract within a few days. It’s a pleasant moment, and as Emerson told Whitman, “the beginning of a great career.”

WRITING FOLLOW-UP LETTERS

After an interview with a particularly appealing firm, you can take one more step to distinguish yourself from the competition. Write a follow-up letter. It takes only a few minutes to thank the interviewer and express your continued interest in the job:

Tr,ank you for the interview yesterday. Our di~cL.3sionof Cranston’s growing Fluid Dynamics Division was very informative. and I am eager to contribute to that division. . I look forward to hearing from you.

SUMMARY

Well-prepared ,esumes and letters of application help you get an interview after an ittterview, the employer may offer you a job. To write these two documentseffectively, good writers analyze their audience. Readers spend only about one minute on the initial review of an application, looking specifically for the applicant who will fill their needs. Job seekers must research their job area by reading books like the Diciionarv of Occupational Titles, assess their strengths by listing skills and concepts they have mastered, investigate firms by reading in the library, and speak of other professionals in their field. Resumes have two forms – traditional, which emphasizes job duties, and [unciional, which emphasizes skills. Good resumes use white space, margins, and heads to emphasize important information and to make the  ocument easy to read. The letter of application has three parts: an introduction (for applying for the positionj.. a body (for relating applicant skills employer needs), and a conclusion (for requesting an interview). At the interview, applicants must use social tact, dressing and speaking well; they must also answer questions clearly and honestly, ask questions about the position, and, above all, be themselves.

MODELS

Two sample application letters follow. The first is long, explaining how the writer’s experience fits the needs listed in the ad. The second is short, listing the Writer’s qualifications.

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EXERCISES

1. Evaluate the wording of each of the following letter openings. Rewrite them if necessary.

a. I was reading the Job Vacancy list published the the University I attend when I came across your request for a hotel manager. In May 19XX I will be graduating h’)m the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a degree in Hotel Management. I would like to take this opportunity to apply for the hotel manager position that you “re offering with your company.

b Hello, my name is Joan Foss and I am a graduating senior in college. In reply to . seeing your ad in the Denver Post I wish to apply for the position of operations manager, I wish to apply for the position of operations manager. I wish to develop knowledge in areas such as directing existing communication systems and consultinq to offer clients effectiveness and adequacy of a chosen system. ” Evaluate the following closings. Rewrite any that you feel are inappropriate. Which one do you think is most appropriate, and why?

a. I would like to interview your company. I will be in Des Moines visiting some friends, one of whom worked for your company about six years ago. I will be there March 13-21. .I would like to interview then. ,

b. Thank you for your attention of this request. I would be most gratified to receive

c: ,y kind of a response from you and will be more than happy to appear for a personal interview any time that it is convenient for you.
c I am free for an appointment at a week’s notice. My number is (715) 555-5555. Thanks for your time. I anticipate ycur reply.
d. May I drive to Brookfield to talk to you~ I can arrange my schedule to be available for an interview on any afternoon but Thursday and Friday.

3. Which of the two following paragraphs do you think is more effective? The position applied for is an operations manager.

a. I will be grad~ting in May 19XX with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology, with a concentration in Industrial Transportation and Communication. Enclosed you will find my personal resume. which details both my college education and my work experience. In addition to the work experience listed. I have a considerable amount of computer experience. working currently with three separate computer systems, and I feel this would be advantageous to your firm.

b. I have worked in industry for the past four years. My current job as a Production and Machine Operator, which I work summers and breaks, has provided me with experience in inventory control. distribution, machining, assembling, shipping, payroll, record-keepinq, and operating various types of machine tool equipment. Along with my work experience, my bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology has prqvided a broad background in the area of industrial transportation. Some of the specific classes I have taken that deal with industrialtransportation and communication are Packaging, Materials Handling, Industrial Distribution, Inventory and Production Control, and Industrial Marketing Management.

4. Decide which of the following two paragraphs you think is most effective, and why.

a. I will be graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in May 19XX with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology, including an emphasis in Packaging Engineering. While attending the university, I have learned many things that pertain to package development and consumer satisfaction.

b. One course in particular has given me the practical experiencethat you are looking for. In Materials and Processes, a senior level course, I was required to design, develop, and test a package that would successfully transport the product to its destination and meet the needs of the consumers that purchase the product.

5. For each job that you have had make a list of all the tasks you accomplished and your responsibilities. Also make a list of all the skills you needed to perform those tasks. Then make a third list of the classes you have taken, and of projects you have completed, that have developed those skills.

6. Find an ad for a position you might apply for. On the left side of a sheet of paper, list every word in the ad that suggests a skill the company is seeking. To the right, make a corresponding list of the skills and the experiences you have that fulfil those needs. Then proceed to writing assignment No.2 below.