Reaction to Mock Job Interview

Using the job ad you found for the last activity, prepare to interview for the job.  Find out what you can about the company and the job before your in-class interview.  Practice answering all of the questions in the JOB INTERVIEWING APPENDIX below.  (Make sure you have story/examples for almost all of the questions.)

Your instructor will assign you a partner for this activity (or ask you to choose a partner). Your partner will ask you the questions in boldface type below. Your answers will be based on the job ad you found, on the research you’ve done on the company, and on the three stories you prepared in the previous lesson; so you’ll have to share that with your interviewer.

Your interviewer should explain whether or not you were persuasive and why, including which three things he or she thinks you could improve upon the most.  In the assignment you turn in to Blackboard, list these three and the three things that your are most likely to concentrate on improving for your next interview.  In addition, include a strategy for how you will improve on those three things.  Saying you need to be less nervous is fine, but you must include a practical plan to make yourself less nervous. Take a look at this example of a completed assignment.

JOB INTERVIEWING APPENDIX (Common Interview Questions and Answer Strategies):

  • Tell me about a specific time that you exhibited one of your greatest strengths.
  • Tell me about a specific time that you achieved something important.
  • What are your strengths?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Tell us about yourself?
  • What skills can you bring to our team?

For these questions, Give the story/examples you’ve prepared based on the ad and your research. Remember to begin and end with a single, clear point.

  • Tell me about a time that you failed at work and how you handled it.
  • What are your greatest weaknesses?

For these questions, Give the story/examples you’ve prepared based on the ad and your research.

  • Where do you want to be in five years?

In five years say you would like to have made a single advancement within the company—possibly supervising others. Saying you’ll do more than that may lead the interviewer to think you don’t understand the work or that you’re overconfident. Saying that you just hope to still be working there lacks ambition.

  • What would you do if you had a disagreement with a difficult co worker?

Explain that you’re especially good at dealing with difficult people. Say you’d calmly try to work it out with the other employee (and that you almost always do). Then add that if all your efforts failed, you’d ask a supervisor for help.

  • What would you do if you saw someone stealing from the company?

This one is easy. Say you would turn them in immediately. This is a sore point with employers.

  • What was your last job/boss like?
  • What did you like best/worst about your last job?

Tell the truth but be positive! You can say your last boss wasn’t a very clear communicator, but you had better follow it with how you asked questions so that the work was done well.

  • How would your current supervisor rate your performance?

Another easy one. Don’t go over the top, but say that your current supervisor thinks you’re great.

  • Why are you leaving your current (or last) job?

If you were laid off, just tell them that directly. Otherwise, the best answer is that you could no longer advance and grow at that company. Be ready to explain in detail how your growth there was limited.

  • What are your salary expectations?

The first time the interviewer asks this, say that you’re sure they’ll make you a competitive offer and that money isn’t your number-one priority. If they ask again, give them a number. Find out what the average pay is for similar positions and ask for about 5% more than the average. After all, you’re not just average.

  • Tell me about your ideal job.

Of course it will serve you well if the opening they have is as close as possible to your ideal job.

  • Do you have any questions for me?

Prepare two to five questions that send the interviewer the message that you are very interested in the work.. Do not ask about pay, benefits or hours. “Can you tell me more about what a typical day working here would encompass,” might be a good question.  “I’ll never have to work later than 4 p.m., will I?” is not a good question to ask.