Career & Professional Development

Helping Gonzaga University Students and Alumni Clarify and Achieve Their Academic and Professional Goals

Tag: Interviewing

No Idea How to Ace an Interview? We’ve Got an Answer for You!

Join us for Spring Speed Mock Interviews on February 22nd at 6 pm in the Herak Club Room.  This is a fun and interactive event that allows you to brush up on your interviewing skills with immediate feedback from employers and alumni.

How does it work? Interviewers sit a a table with a different question and the participants rotate round the room.  After 2 minutes for the answer of the question, your interviewer will give you immediate feedback for improvement!

Who can participate? Any student, regardless of year or major, is welcomed to join!  Especially students who have never had a “real” interview…this is perfect practice!

When is the event? Feb. 22 at 6 pm in the Herak Club Room

Register today (space is limited) by e-mailing careercenter@gonzaga.edu

Speed Dating, Nope..Speed Interviews!

speed dateIt can only take a few minutes for two people to click. During speed dating, prospective partners hop from one table to another hoping to find that spark. Yes, it’s terrifying, nerve-racking, and more than a little exciting. What can be even more emotional is not sitting across from a potential first date, but across from someone that will critique your experience, evaluate your character, and decide whether are not you are right for their company. No need to prematurely wave a white flag.

Come to the Career Center’s Speed Mock Interviews tonight at 7pm and get some practice sitting and talking with someone that could change your career as opposed to your lonely Saturday nights.

Make sure to RSVP at careercenter@gonzaga.edu or stop by 2nd Floor of Crosby!

Is Your Job Search Giving You the Shock of Your Life?

You’ve been applying for positions on a daily basis.    Your parents are wondering if they will ever get you out of the house and if tuition was money well spent.   You may have even had an interview, but you’ve yet to land a job.

Now is the time to contact the Career Center.

We are here to help our Zags get that job that will launch your career through various coaching steps.

static-electricity-hair-stand-on-end1

Maybe your resume is good, but not great.  We can help you with that.  Maybe your cover letter is getting passed over because it rather generic instead of specific.  We can help you with that.  Maybe when you went on that interview, you didn’t feel as prepared as you wish you were.  We can help you with that, too! Oh yeah, we also have resources to help you with job searching as well from helpful links to getting familar with networking tactics.

Just come by…call… or email (careercenter@gonzaga.edu).   If you feel like you are getting shocked by the reality of your first job hunt, then come see us at the Career Center.

What NOT to do After an Interview…

tweet1

We always tell job seekers what to do before, during and after an interview.  From researching companies to sending a well written thank-you note, there are some “basics” when it comes to interview etiquette.  Sometimes we forget however what job seekers shouldn’t do after an interview.  Yes, there are many no-no’s for post interview but in a Facebook and Twitter world some of the rules are being re-written.

For example: HR recruiters are in fact using social media websites like Twitter,  Facebook and MySpace to find out more on individual candidates.  (Ethical implications of this is still undefined and under debate.)

With that, consider that your Facebook Status as well as your Twitter updates up for grabs for recruiters, potential bosses and individuals to network with.  It’s recommended that job seekers to never update Facebook status or Twitter regarding the success (or failure) of an interview.

Saying, “That interviewer was such a jerk, and they would be lucky to have me on their staff.”  Probably wouldn’t read very well if someone from that company comes across it.

Or, “That interview was a snap and that job is in the bag and is mine.”   Being arrogant and ostentatious about the possibility of landing the job also will not make you appealing to employers.

My tip for you?   Follow the instructions of the Twitter Bird here on the blog and know what to Tweet/Facebook and what to leave alone.

“You said What?”

I will admit.  I am not perfect, sometimes in social situations I can get nervous trying to be too funny or witty (which of course just annoys anyone in a 10 feet radius of me).  The butterflies in the stomach, clammy hands and the second guessing of each comment said is another side effect of my tension.

One would think that I am referring to a blind date, but instead I am writing about the good old job interview.   Just like with dating, being nervous in an interview is a good thing.  Your adrenaline makes your senses heightened and ideally you should be much more aware of questions being asked as well as appropriate responses.

cartoon-jobinterviewgd

No matter how nervous you are, there are some responses to the standard interview questions that should never be said in an interview. CNN.com (in partnership with CareerBuilder) recently released hiring managers craziest responses to fairly standard questions.  The majority of the answers are funny and jaw-dropping.  One thing they all have in common: they are real.

“I’m not wanted in this state.”

“How many young women work here?”

“I didn’t steal it; I just borrowed it.”

“You touch somebody and they call it sexual harassment!”

“I’ve never heard such a stupid question.”

For the full list of outrageous answers, check it out the article here.

What should you say in the coveted job interview?  Highlight skills, accomplishments, qualities and goals for the future.  The interview is where you get to bring your personality away from paper and into real life.  Ideally you will answer the question how you fit perfectly with the organization and the position.

And whatever you say don’t let it be something a friend would reply by saying, “You said what in an interview?”

Tips for Recent Grads from HR Recruiters

CareerBuilder launched a study recently that caught my eye and could be consider “blog” worthy.  The idea of the study was highlight the highly competitive job market that the Class of 2009 faces.  Now you don’t need to have a Harvard Economics degree to find truth in that statement, but what is helpful are the areas of awareness for recent grads to consider when job hunting according to the survey.

1. Presenting Experience:

For recent graduates, one of the most challenging components of a job hunt is proving they have the relevant experience employers want in candidates.  Your resume should not only highlight tactical and tangible accomplishments like group projects, relevant course work or internships but also “soft” skill set.

Here are the top ten qualities and skills employers are looking for in new hires:

  • Communication Skills
  • Honesty/Integrity
  • Ability to Work in a Team
  • Strong Work Ethic
  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Motivation/Initiative
  • Computer Skills
  • Detail Oriented

The majority of Gonzaga grads have a wealth of experience with many of these qualities and skills, the problem is how do you sell it.  If you have leadership experience in a club or organization that highlights one or more of these qualities, expand it on your resume.  This is not an economy to be humble about accomplishments.

2. Interview setbacks

The survey mentioned that 63%  of employers believed that the biggest interview mistake  recent graduates make is acting bored or cocky. How can you prevent that?

  • Once trick is to take notes during the interview (but no doodling!) and refer to them later when you have the chance to respond.
  • Listen for key words such as:  goals, accomplishments, objectives, visions, outline, overall, etc.  These words are indicators that the interviewer is mentioning a pivotal piece of information.  Perk up!

Other interview pitfalls included:

  • Lack of preparation.  (Yes, this keeps coming up over and over again.  Research really is that important.)
  • Professional dress and etiquette: Iron the shirt and pants, comb your hair and turn off your cell phone.   (All the way to silent please!)  Also 12% cited that forgetting to mail a thank you card can damage a successful interview.

All of this information shouldn’t be a suprise, but I guess when it comes to advice sometimes ithas more weight from a HR recruiter.  Keep it in mind job hunters!

Don’t Be A Prisoner of Azkaban

Dementor

Sometimes I can’t help but link my life to Harry Potter. I don’t know how many of you have a similar problem, but there are so many Dementors, Voldemorts, and riddle spitting mythical creatures in my life that I am about to just drop out of Hogwarts. Psh, like my parents would ever let me do that.

However, after perusing the internet I have found at least one partronus that can help us all tackle one particularly bad Dementor: The Tough Interview Question. Who would think that your employer would ever ask you, “What sea creature defines you the best, and why?” or the ever popular, “Why should we hire you for the job?”

Well I, along with the help of Yahoo!hotjobs, have the answer for these questions so next time you won’t faint and need to be rushed to the nearest candy shop for a large piece of chocolate.

The “Why Question” or “Why Should we Hire YOU?”

Firstly KNOW the fine line between boastful and confident and DO NOT cross it. You are here to sell yourself, but do not come across as if you already have the job. Remember to highlight the specific aspects of your experience that pertain to this job.

The “Future Question” or “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”

Remember not to get too detailed, and tell them what is important to you professionally and how you plan to achieve your goals.

The “Salary Question” or “How Much Do You Plan To Make?”

First, try and gently deflect the question and ask them what about the salary for this job, but if they pressure you for an answer give them your range. Know that this question can and will be asked, and be prepared to offer a well thought out answer so you seem knowledgeable of the field and it’s typical pay.

The “Silly Question” aka “Which Country in the UN Describes You and Why”

First things first, DO NOT blow this question off. The employer uses this question to see how you react under pressure, and you should not take too long to think this over, but make sure you pick a creature or country that fits you well. For instance, take an animal like a ferret, and say how you always look for BRIGHT SHINY new ways to push yourself to new boundaries, and you get along great in a “business of ferrets” always helping your entire business to succeed.

So there you have it, a lovely business of ferret patroni to help you conquer your next job interview.

Written by Marvin Dumas, Class of 2011

Is Your Poker Face Ready?

Driving into work today my iPod was helping me get ready for my sunny day I have in store for myself here in Spokane.  All of a sudden, Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” (one of my favorite songs for the 2009 summer), came on and I made a connection back to Career Development: the all important interview.   

pokerindex31

Think about it: entering an interview full of confidence and not allowing any line of questioning to affect your well constructed “Poker Face”.  There is no question too difficult or confusing, as you are knowledgeable in your strengths, accomplishments and skill sets.  You have done your research which allows you to be an expert of both the company and position that you are applying for.   There are no “giveaways” of your weaknesses, as you are also aware of your body language from fidgeting to eye contact and the dead ringer of conversational fillers of “Uh”, “Um” and “Huh” do not exist.

Are you prepping for an interview soon?  Here are my top tips for you:

1.       Know yourself.  Seems pretty basic, right? You’d be surprised.   Many interviewees don’t come prepared with accomplishment statements, strengths and future goals. Have an idea of how your answers will be structured to highlight these elements.

2.       Know the company. Again, pretty basic.  But even more so job hunters neglect that having knowledge of the company along with mission, clients, history, etc is critical to have a conversational style interview rather than the uncomfortable grill.

3.       Know when to stop talking.  Keep answers short and concise.  The idea of the interview should be closer to 50/50 rather than the interviewee talking the entire time. Ask questions throughout to engage the interviewer in the process as well.

All before I had my iced Americano, pretty impressive…right?