The Job Interview – Advice from CUNY LEADS
CUNY LEADS (City University of New York Linking Employment, Academics and Disability Services) is a program of CUNY created to provide students with disabilities the skills to make realistic academic and career choices that will result in successful careers. CUNY LEADS will share job search insight on this blog on the 2nd Tuesday of every month.
Securing a job interview can be exciting and at the same time stressful. We know that the interview is the time to convince the employer that we are the best candidate for the position. We also know that we only have one chance to make a great first impression.
Certain questions can be anticipated on the interview. Your responses can make the difference between getting the job and not getting the job.
While interviewers have different styles of asking questions, the goal is to obtain the following information:
- Can you do the job?
- Will you work hard and go the extra mile?
- Are you a team player?
- Are you the right fit for the company?
Your responses to interview questions may vary depending upon how much experience you have. Before reporting to an interview, be sure that you have done your research. Carefully read the job description and learn something about the company. Here are suggestions of how to approach common interview questions:
What kind of experience do you have for this job?
This is the opportunity to sell yourself. The employer wants to learn what you can bring to the company – not just your skills but whether you are someone who will fit into dynamics of the company. Talk about your professional skills and experience, and discuss your ability to manage deadlines, work in a team and/or solve problems.
If you are someone who has a limited work history, you may also want to talk about some of your volunteer or academic experiences that relate to the job. Remember paid experience is only one way that we develop skills. (See related posts on volunteer experience.)
What did you like or dislike about your last job?
The employer is trying to determine if you will fit into the culture of the company. This is not the time to disclose the fact that you did not get along with your last manager or that the job was incredibly boring.
Speak positively about your last job and talk about what you learned there.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Keep these responses on a professional level. You may want to emphasize your skills in time management, planning or customer service, keeping it job specific. Discuss your weaknesses in a positive manner, for example: I was never the most organized person so I developed a time management system that really improved my time management skills. (For more, see related post on how to answer “What’s your weakness?”)
What are you goals for the future?
When considering you as a potential employee, a company wants to be confident that you are going to put your full efforts into your job and the company. You may want to say that you are looking to continue and grow at the company and devote yourself to the position.
If do your research before the interview, you will feel more confidant and be a stronger candidate. Good Luck!
- More interview advice from the Workforce1 Career Blog
- US News and world Reports/10 ways to ruin an interview
- Monster.com 100 Interview Questions
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The views, opinions, or expressions provided by CUNY LEADS do not necessarily represent the views, opinions, or expressions of the City of New York and/or the New York City Department of Small Business Services.