You are invited to set up an appointment for a Mock Interview here on the Plymouth State campus:
Appointments will be scheduled with an advisor in the Career Services Office in the Global Education Office at Bagley House.
Please call 535-2336 to book your 30-minute appointment.
For more information, read the information below describing:
- Preparation for the Mock Interview
- The Day of the Mock Interview
- What Employers look for during the interview.
- Questions Most Often Asked Employers in an interview
- A list of questions you might ask the interview
Description of the Mock Interview
The videotaped mock interview is one of the very best ways to prepare for an actual employment interview.
- It allows you to gain experience and practice in answering questions which you are likely to be asked by the recruiter and then, by watching the videotape, to see yourself as others see you.
- The Career Services staff member who takes the role of the recruiter will try to make the interview as realistic as possible by asking questions that are typical of those that might be asked for the type of position you are seeking.
- At some point during the interview you will have the opportunity to ask questions that you would ask in an actual interview.
The mock interview takes about twenty minutes; then you will watch it with a Career Services staff member, discuss and critique it.
Preparation for the Mock Interview
- Set up a 30 minute appointment with Career Services at the Bagley Center, call 535-2336. Be sure you have a resume.
- Dress for the Mock Interview as you would for a job interview and the staff will critique.
- Do your homework and think about possible responses. Don’t memorize your answers, but be prepared to respond to the interviewer’s questions by describing past experiences that will help give the interviewer a better idea of your qualifications.
- Prepare a list of interviewee (your) questions that you might want to ask the interviewer.
- It would be a good idea to watch the interviewing technique videotapes in the Video Series on the Career Services website at http://www.plymouth.edu/career/video/index.html This interview series offers advice on interview dress. Bring your resume and a description of the type of position you are seeking.
The Day of the Mock Interview
Dress appropriately for the job you are seeking. Arrive 10 minutes early and bring your resume. Staff will be available to critique your resume.
WHAT EMPLOYERS LOOK FOR
Recruiters will usually evaluate an applicant on the following categories. Pay as close attention to the way to answer questions as you would to the content of your answers!
- Confidence: Assertive, takes initiative, accomplishment-oriented answers, persistent in explanations, and poised in character
- Communication Skills: Grammar and speech are acceptable for your field, thoughts were organized before answering the questions, clear expression of ideas
- Administrative/Organizational Skills: Able to successfully manage school, work and activities; meets goals; establishes priorities; demonstrates leadership skills
- Time Management: Able to work within a deadline, conscientious of completing tasks quickly, does not procrastinate, ability to budget time realistically and efficiently
- Stress Management: Shows ability to cope well while under stressful situations, able to remain composed during length of interview, remains calm when answers were challenged
- Analytical Skills: Answers showed good attention to detail, supports answers with logical reasoning, demonstrates ability to problem-solve, pays attention to finding a solution
Keep these points in mind as you prepare for your Mock Interview. When practicing mock interviews, have the observer give you feedback on these points.
QUESTIONS MOST OFTEN ASKED BY EMPLOYERS IN JOB INTERVIEWS
Ideally, job interview questions are designed to help an employer learn as much as possible about you in a very short time. (Most interviews last only 30-60 minutes.) Questions can fall into a number of categories– personal goals and accomplishments, self-assessment, educational and work experiences, relationships with people, and life/career expectations. As part of your preparation for a job interview, we recommend that you read the questions below, and, prepare and practice answering these “high-priority” questions.
- What are your long-range and short-range goals and objectives? When and why did you establish these goals and how are you preparing yourself to achieve them?
- What specific goals, other than those related to your occupation, have you established for yourself for the next ten years?
- What do you really want to do in life?
- What are your long-range career objectives?
- How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
- What are the most important rewards you expect in your career?
- What do you expect to be earning in five years?
- Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?
- What do you consider your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- Tell me about yourself.
- How do you think a friend or professor who knows you well would describe you?
- Who or what has had the greatest influence on your life?
- What motivates you to put forth your best effort?
- How has your education prepared you for a career?
- Why should I hire you?
- What qualifications do you have that make you think that you will be successful in this career?
- How do you define or evaluate success?
- What do you think it takes to successful in a company like ours?
- What qualities should a successful manager possess?
- Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and subordinate.
- What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?
- Give an example of a time in which you worked under deadline pressure.
- Give an example of a situation in which you provided a solution to to an employer.
- Describe your most rewarding college experience.
- If you were hiring a graduate for this position, what qualities would you look for?
- Why did you select your college or university?
- What let you to choose your field of study?
- What college subjects did you like best? Why?
- What college subjects did you like least? Why?
- If you could do so, how would you plan your academic study differently? Why?
- What changes would you make in your college or university? Why?
- Do you have plans for continued study?
- Do you think that your grades are a good indication of your academic achievement? Why or why not?
- What have you learned from participation in extracurricular activities?
- In what kind of a work environment are you most comfortable?
- How do you work under pressure?
- In what part-time or summer jobs have you been most interested? Why?
- How would you describe the ideal job?
- Why did you decide to seek a job with us?
- What do you know about our organization?
- What two or three things are most important to you in a job?
- What criteria are you using to evaluate organizations for which you hope to work?
- Will you travel and/or relocate?
- What major problem have you encountered and how did you deal with it?
- What have you learned from your mistakes?
- What salary and benefits do you expect?
- (Technical question from your field of study.)
ILLEGAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS and HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM
Federal law forbids employers to discriminate against any person on the basis of sex, age, race, national origin, or religion. Many states also have laws that protect the physically challenged.
Be aware that employment discrimination is often difficult to pinpoint and even harder to litigate. Using your common sense, the few options available to you should you be faced with an illegal question are:
- Answer the question anyway.
- Ask the interviewer to explain the question’s relevance to the job. This gives you time to clarify both your choices and what the interviewer is driving at.
- Say, “I don’t believe that question is relevant to my ability to do the job.” This is a good way to signal the interviewer that you are aware of what s/he’s doing.
- Walk out. If you feel that you are being unnecessarily harassed, and the interview is becoming unpleasant for you, you are not obligated to complete the interview. You may want to take the interviewer’s business card in the event of any future follow-up activities.
Some guidelines interviewers must follow:
- They may not ask about your age, marital status, pregnancy plans, ages of your children, or child-care arrangements. They may ask if you are over 18.
- They may not ask about your political or religious affiliations or beliefs. They may ask whether you can work on Saturdays, or advise you of normal working hours to avoid possible conflict with your convictions.
- They may not ask about your ancestry, national origin, parentage; the naturalization status of your immediate family; or your birthplace. They may ask whether you have the right to work in the United States. If hired, you will be asked for proof of your status.
- They may not ask about your native language or how you acquired the ability to communicate in a foreign language. They may ask about languages in which you are fluent if such ability is pertinent to the job.
- They may not ask about a change in name, maiden name, or inquiries about your name that would indicate your race. They may ask whether you have ever worked for a company under a different name in order to verify past employment.
- They may not ask about the nature and severity of any handicaps. The employer must be prepared to prove that any physical and mental requirements for a job are due to “business necessity” and the safe performance of the job. They may ask if you are able to carry out all necessary duties of the job as described to you and perform them in a safe manner. Except in cases where undue hardship can be proven, employers must make “reasonable accommodations” for the physical and mental limitations of an employee or applicant. “Reasonable accommodation” includes alteration of duties, physical setting, and provision of aids.
Questions you might ask the interviewer include:
- What are some typical (first-year) assignments?
- What kinds of people tend to be successful with you?
- Why do you like working for the company?
- What are the greatest challenges of this work?
- What trends will affect the future of the company?
- How can I expect to be evaluated and promoted?
- What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses?
- How would you describe your company’s personality and management style?
- Is it company policy to promote from within?
- What are your expectations for new hires?
- Tell me about your initial and future training programs.
- What characteristics should a person working for your company exhibit?
- What makes your firm different from its competitors?
- What are the company’s plans for future growth?