Interviewing – Know your Product

The JB Speed School of Engineering has a robust recruiting schedule in the fall semester. In September and October alone, we hosted more than 141 interview schedules in the Engineering Career Development Center.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe, but the most qualified candidate for the job isn’t always the one who gets it. It’s the person who can communicate their skills and abilities and their fit for the position.

The two biggest mistakes that I see candidates make is that #1 they haven’t prepared enough for the interview and #2 then don’t ask the right kinds of questions.

When I’m talking about preparing, I’m not necessarily talking about researching the company (that’s important too but that comes later). I’m talking about getting to know the product – the candidate (YOU) – enough to say what you have to offer.

You MUST be able to talk about your skills, your personality characteristics and your content knowledge. You should be able to talk at length about what you have to offer a company.

Start by writing out answers and examples for the following:

  • The top five things I want an employer to know about me
  • This is why I ROCK! (examples that show I am a rock star)
  • Areas for development (what I am working on)
  • Brilliant ideas (suggestions for improvement in something I’m involved in)
  •   Team philosophy (and how I approach challenges)
  • Short term/long term goals
  • Specific Challenges (that I have faced and overcome)
  • Questions I have
  •   Areas of expertise (based on co-ops, experiences, projects, etc)

Then practice OUT LOUD your answers to common interviewing questions.  ESPECIALLY these:

1)      Tell me about yourself.
2)      Why are you interested in this position?
3)      Why do you want to work for this company?
4)      Why should I hire you?
5)      What are your five greatest strengths as they relate to this position?
6)      Describe the 3 most technical projects that you’ve worked on and explain your contribution to each.
7)      Tell me about a time that you have failed – what would you do differently?

Don’t memorize your answers. Just practice answering out loud. It’s about gaining comfort with talking about yourself in a positive, confident manner.

We are always happy to conduct practice interviews with you in the Engineer Career Development Center.  Please come in and see us!

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