Ohio University Office of Career Services


Interview Bloopers & How to Avoid Them by Christy R

Interview Bloopers & How to Avoid Them

The ability to write a great résumé or cover letter may help you land an interview, but that’s not all it takes to get the job. An outstanding résumé can get you in to meet with your potential employer but once you’re sitting across from them in the interview you will have to start over in order to prove that you are the best candidate.

Most interview bloopers occur because of the lack of practice and preparation. Of course even if you are well prepared, the interview may not go perfectly–we all make mistakes. However, the following mistakes can easily be avoided by developing strong interviewing skills and preparing properly for the interview.

Weak communication skills.
Non-verbal communication plays a crucial role throughout the interview. A poor handshake may weaken your chances of getting hired from the very beginning. Also remember to make eye contact, avoid fidgeting and looking at your watch. Be aware of your body language–it may not be obvious to you but the interviewer will easily notice it.

Poor verbal communication skills will almost certainly decrease your chances of getting hired. Giving a long, rambling answer to a simple question demonstrates an inability to concentrate and process relevant information. Avoid using any slang–stay professional no matter what. Listening skills are also vital: don’t spend so much time thinking about your answer that you’re not paying attention to the question.

Failing to research the company.
Be prepared to demonstrate an awareness of the company and the position for which you are applying. It’s going to be obvious that you did not do your research if you ask the interviewer to tell you more about the position or what the company does. Read the job description. Check out the company website. Know the organization. On the other hand, don’t go overboard with your knowledge. When you know something about the company, wait for the right moment to share it. Do not interrupt the interviewer to tell them you already know the information. Wait until they have finished and then add a comment to what they just shared.

Dressing inappropriately.
When in doubt, err on the side of too formal. It is unlikely that there will be a good reason to show up for the interview casually dressed. Every company has its own dress policy, and it is a good practice to dress one level above what is acceptable for company.

Being late or too early.
Never be late. Develop a habit of being on time. It’s also important not to turn up too early because it creates the impression of having too much time on your hands and being desperate for the job. Five to ten minutes early is a good rule of thumb.

Being negative.
It’s important to have the right attitude during an interview. Never complain about your current job and stay enthusiastic throughout the interview. Be careful to treat everyone you meet with courtesy, including the receptionist. Many companies watch to see how you treat their staff. It gives them an indication of how well you might fit in to the company.

Asking inappropriate questions.
At the end of the interview always take the opportunity to ask questions. By paying attention during the interview, you will ensure that you don’t ask about something that was already discussed. Take some time before the interview to think about the position, what it involves and what kind of information you need to know to learn more about it. Have several questions prepared before you go into the interview. Avoid asking questions about salary and benefits during the initial interview. These are only appropriate once you have been offered the job.

Failing to follow up.
Be persistent. Send an email and thank you note after the interview, thanking the interviewer for their time. By following up and letting the employer know that you are still interested, you will increase your chances of getting a job.

Remember, preparation and practice are key. The Office of Career Services provides you with assistance when preparing for an interview. You can find general information about interviews on our website.

The Mock Interview Program can also help you sharpen your interviewing skills. Visit our website for more information.

Make sure to check out our On Demand Presentations for additional information on Behavioral Interviews or Phone Interviews.

Get ready and the best of luck on your interview!

—Written by Anna Morlang, CareerCATS Coordinator for the Office of Career Services

References
Quintessential Careers
The Time of India
Career Alley



Dining Etiquette Workshop by Christy R

Dining Etiquette Workshop

Do you know the dos and taboos of dining etiquette? Are you prepared to interview during a meal?  The Office of Career Services is pleased to welcome Deborah Thomas-Nininger of DTN Productions to Ohio University to facilitate a Dining Etiquette Workshop. This workshop will guide you through proper dining and interviewing techniques as well as providing tips for pre-dinner mingling.

Due to high demand, Career Services has added one more table to the program.  Single tickets are available for $15, first come, first serve.  Please bring a check (written to: Ohio University Career Services) to 533 Baker University Center to receive a ticket.

When: Monday, May 9, 2011

Time: Dinner will begin promptly at 6:00 pm

Where: Baker University Center Ballroom

Cost: $15 (only checks will be accepted)

*Cost includes four course meal and training materials
**Professional business attire required.

Please direct any questions about the Dining Etiquette Workshop to Ali Woodworth at aw800110@ohio.edu.

More on Deborah Thomas-Nininger
Deborah Thomas-Nininger has been conducting business etiquette, communication and self-presentation workshops and training seminars for over 20 years. During that time she’s coordinated the international etiquette training for the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta for Coca-Cola. Deborah has presented to a wide varieties of companies and universities including Nationwide Insurance, Cardinal Health, Bath and Body Works and Harvard University.  For more on Deborah Thomas-Nininger visit her website at http://dtn-productions.com/home .



Job Search Techniques: Spring Quarter Weekly Webinar Series by Christy R

Job Search Techniques:
Spring Quarter Weekly Webinar Series

The Office of Career Services is excited to announce the start of a weekly webinar series on job search techniques. Six different career authors and experts will be sharing their expertise in a variety of areas, including social media, career strategy, and vital job search skills.

The schedule for the next 6 weeks:

Interviewing: April 13th— Scott Zimmerman & Carl Rakich
Twitter: April 20th—Susan Whitcomb
Listening: April 27th—Mark Goulston
Networking: May 4th—Devora Zack
Career Strategy: May 11th—Peter Weddle
Job Search: May 18th—Martin Yate

All webinars will be held on Wednesdays in Baker University Center, Room 503, from 3:00-4:30 pm.

Remember, what you don’t know about your careers will cost you interviews and jobs, so don’t miss this opportunity to improve your chances of getting hired! Attend one presentation or all.

If unable to attend a presentation, stop by the Office of Career Services to pick up the latest information on how organize your job search, plan your career, build a network, interview and use Twitter to get a job!



Tips for the Job-Seeker by Christy R

Tips for the Job Seeker

Is it time to leave college behind and transition into the real world? Are you bored with your current job and want to change careers? Read on, job search advice is coming your way! There are many ways to go about finding a job that is perfect for you.

Explore your options
First, you need to decide which factors are important to you when seeking a job. Think about the field you would like to work in, hours you want to work, the environment that’s right for you, and whether the job is in line with your values. Decide if you are willing to relocate for the job, and if it is important to you whether you can move up in the company.

Get an Internship
If you find a profession that you are interested in, you may decide to explore what it would be like to work in the field. Consider trying an internship to acquire experience in your area of interest. This is a great way to determine whether a certain career path is right for you. Additionally, an internship is an outstanding résumé booster that will show employers that you have some related experience.

Do Your Research
Once you decide on an occupation that suits you, you’re ready to begin your journey toward finding a specific place of employment. This is when the real hunt begins.

To start, you may want to use online resources to research and find openings for the types of jobs you’re looking for. Look on our Job Search Resources page on the Career Services website to identify job posting websites in specific fields that may interest you. There you can find an assortment of postings by field or type, including seasonal/summer, teaching abroad, multicultural, nonprofit, and green jobs.

Ohio University students may also take advantage of Bobcat CareerLink to view postings online for jobs targeted specifically to OU students and alumni.

Networking
Don’t stop at perusing through job postings online, though. Take your job search one step further by networking. Both face-to-face and social media networking are effective job search strategies. Consider trying out Bobcat Mentor Network, which can put you in contact with alumni from Ohio University that are willing to help you decide which career path is best for you. Some can even help you find an internship or a job.

You can also use social media such as LinkedIn to connect with professionals in your network and beyond. Reaching out to people you already know can help you connect with others in the field or recommend other job search strategies to you.

Career Fairs are also a great way to network. You can meet individuals in the company you wish to work for, or get a feel for the types of organizations you wish to look into further.

Contact the employer
Once you decide which organization sounds like a good match, you need to contact the employer to find out if there are job openings and whether you can interview for a position. Find an email address or a phone number and contact the individual in charge of hiring. Mention that you’re interested in the company and that you would like to schedule an interview if they have an opening.

Prepare for the interview
If you land the interview, make sure your résumé is up to date and tailored toward the specific job you are applying for. Then, you should find references that can attest for your work ethic and motivation. References should be professional and can include professors, advisors, supervisors, or anyone that can comment on your potential for the new job. Once you’ve got your résumé in hand and your references ready, you need to prepare for your interview. Develop an elevator pitch, which is a brief overview about yourself regarding your background, education, relevant experiences, and why you want to work for their specific company. Also make sure to do your research on the company and prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview.

Ace the Interview
Show up a few minutes early to your interview and be professional and courteous to all individuals you meet on the way into the interview. Remember to BREATHE! You’ve done your preparation, and now it’s time to show them why you would be a good fit with their organization.

Be proactive about your job search. It can be a full-time job trying to find a full-time job, so start your search now!

For further information regarding our career resources, visit the Career Services website, or schedule an appointment to meet with one of our Career Advisors.

—Contributed by Kelli Swackhamer, Office of Career Services Practicum Student



Brush Up on Your Career Fair Etiquette by Christy R

Brush Up on Your Career Fair Etiquette

As we gear up for the annual OU Winter Career Fair tomorrow, here are a few helpful reminders to help you interact successfully with employers.

BEFORE THE FAIR

1. Identify & research employers: Visit Bobcat Career Link to find out what employers are registered for the fair. Do some initial research about the companies by visiting their websites.

2. Bring multiple copies of your résumé…and don’t forget to organize them neatly in a nice portfolio.

3. Practice your introduction: Be ready to introduce yourself to employers and highlight your major, class status, and how your knowledge/skills would be an asset to the company.

4. Dress professionally: Dark business suits and ties for men, with polished shoes, dark socks, and well groomed hair. Neutral or dark suits work best for women, with panty hose, close-toed, low-heeled shoes, and minimal make-up/perfume.

DURING THE FAIR

1. Make a good first impression: Greet the employer with a firm handshake and smile, and introduce yourself.

2. Demonstrate your knowledge: Let the employer know that you’ve done your research and are able to communicate how you will fit into the company.

3. Remember names and companies: Be sure to get the recruiters name and business card.

AFTER THE FAIR

1. Follow up: Send a thank you note to the employers you spoke to. Reiterate the main points you discussed with them at the fair e.g. your qualifications, interest, and anything you forgot to mention at the event. Be sure to send a résumé/make a phone call if the employer asked you to do so.

—The information above was taken from the Office of Career Services’ “Career Fair Etiquette” flier which is available for students to pick up at any time. For other helpful handouts on a variety of career-related topics, stop by our office or visit our Handout Library online.



Career Fair Follow-up: Preparing for a Phone Interview by Christy R

Following the career fair, many of you can expect to be taking the next step in the hiring process:  interviewing. This may start with a phone interview or an invitation to an on-site interview. Sometimes a recruiter will conduct a phone interview simply to ask a few clarifying questions in their attempt to narrow down the pool of job applicants. Other times they prefer to conduct an entire 60-minute interview over the phone.

When preparing for a phone interview, many of the techniques for face-to-face interviews still apply, but a few additional tips are helpful:

1. Be Ready.
You might not know beforehand the exact time the interviewer is going to call. Have your résumé and notes on the organization handy to refer to during the interview. This is one benefit a phone interview gives you—the opportunity to use a “cheat sheet” during the interview. Use this to your advantage!

2. Eliminate distractions.
Find a quiet place away from other people or noisy pets. Turn off call waiting. Close applications on your computer. If there are other people around you, be sure they know not to interrupt! Avoid chewing gum, eating, or smoking.

3. Speak out.
Standing up actually makes your voice stronger. Also, smile! Even though the person interviewing you cannot see you, your facial expression comes through in the tone of your voice. Enunciate your words clearly and avoid awkward fillers like “um,” “er,” “you know,” etc. One last suggestion: Nerves tend to dry up the voice, so taking occasional sips of water throughout the interview will keep your throat relaxed and open.

4. Give short answers.
It’s easy to talk too much when you’re nervous. Only talk enough to answer the question, then allow a moment of silence to let the interviewer know that it’s their turn to talk.

These tips can help give you a feeling of confidence when conducting an interview. For more tips on conducting a traditional interview, view our previous post, “Interview Etiquette: Tips To Successfully Navigate a Job Interview.” Also consider participating in our Mock Interview program where you can practice both face-to-face and telephone interviews, and receive valuable feedback from the interviewer. For more information about this program, and to sign up, visit www.ohio.edu/careers.



Prepare For Success: What you need to know in order to interact successfully with employers at the career fair by Christy R

You’re standing outside the door of the career fair ready to enter. You’ve printed your résumé, researched the employers, donned your business attire, and drawn up a list of what you need to accomplish in the next couple of hours. Now it is time to put your plan of action into effect. A few tips should help you interact professionally with the employers you’re about to meet.

1. Make a good first impression.
You will most likely have only a short while to speak with each recruiter, so you must make every minute count. The first impression you make will go a long way. In order to accomplish this, just
remember these four things:

  • Eye-contact. Show that you are confident and at ease.
  • Firm handshake. Don’t offer a limp hand, but don’t crush any bones either.
  • Relaxed smile. Be friendly, but avoid gushing with too much enthusiasm.
  • Elevator speech. (See previous post on how to prepare one.) Introduce yourself in a strong, clear, natural voice, at the same time being careful not to shout.

2. Ask questions.
This goes hand-in-hand with doing your research before going to the fair. Employers are impressed when you already have a basic understanding of the company and can ask intelligent questions.

3. Don’t treat the fair as a social event.
It can be easy to become too relaxed and start sharing aspects of your personal life that are not appropriate for this professional environment. Always keep in mind that you are being evaluated on your potential to perform in the workplace.

4. Get contact information.
Most recruiters will either give you their business card or have some out on a table. If you don’t see any, be sure to ask them for their specific title, name (spelled correctly!), and contact information, both phone and email.

5. Follow up.
The very last question you should ask each recruiter is “What is the next step?” Find out which method of follow-up the recruiter prefers, phone or email. Ask them when you can expect to hear from them again, or when they would like you to contact them. Is there anything else they need from you (work samples, portfolio, etc.)? Also be sure to thank the recruiter for their time before you leave.

6. Take Notes.
You can write down key information during the interview if you like, just don’t spend the entire meeting scribbling furiously. That’s why it might be a better idea to take a moment AFTER the meeting to jot down some notes about your conversation. These reminders will be helpful in the follow-up process.

7. Network.
Your most important job at the fair is to network with employers, but don’t forget to network with other job-seekers as well. This way you can share support, company information, and job leads with one another.