Job Interviews

Preparation, Conduct and References

7th February 2011


In this third class focused on seeking a first Job, we will build on the discussion last time of Strategy Documents, setting your goals, researching opportunities, letters, resumes and CVs. We will focus on the critically important interviews and consider preparing for them, conducting them and providing references. Below I provide links to the videos that you should watch in preparation for discussion of the topics on the agenda for the class session. I recommend you look over the agenda before listening to the videos so you know what to think about as you prepare for the class discussion. In particular please note the preparation for practicing interview questions that will be two-thirds of the class.

Primary Preparation: Videos

We will use videos that provide advice on all aspects of interviewing and they are from two sources. The first is a private firm that provides a wide array of services to both employers and people seeking employment and focuses on interviews. The second source provides similar services but focuses on college graduates. The two sources are complementary in that they demonstrate a considerable similarity in the advice given but each offers some things that the other does not. Below I provide guidance on which parts of their sites to focus on first and how to use them.

Interview Stream is a company that has developed web based services using video for individuals wanting to develop their interview skills and firms wanting to reduce costs and improve their hiring processes (e.g. see Green Interview video). While they charge for their services they also provide a number of useful free resources for helping people to prepare and be more effective in their interviews. Some of the links on their site do not always work and so I have given below the specific link for the pages you should examine.

Unlocking the Hidden Value of Your Story : Work your way through this webinar first. Occasionally the presenter, Rob Sullivan, comes on a little strong but his basic advice is a very good starting point for developing an overview of how to prepare for and conduct an impressive interview.

Interview Suite : This is a follow-on to the webinar with Sullivan being joined by a colleague as they address three sets of topics in short clips of 20-60 seconds on: Key Questions, Interview Tips and Interesting Topics. is a site I found being mentioned in various places on the web. The company's offices are located adjacent to the Penn State Campus and it focuses on students seeking entry level jobs to launch their careers. They have a most useful resource that is a series of 1-minute videos on key topics, all presented by the company president Brian Krueger. Tips for watching their videos:

Job Search Minute Videos cover a variety of topics, all of which are worth watching. For purposes of this class I recommend you watch the following two first and carry on to others afterwards:

They also have videos on writing resumes and cover letters and presenting references, which provide another perspective on ideas we discussed in the previous class. also has a most useful list of questions for you to consider asking the interviewer; they are thus questions that the interviewer should anticipate and be prepared to answer!

Supplementary Videos

Interview Stream has a number of resources that demonstrate how bad it sounds when speakers use um and other space fillers. They are worth a look and listen to sensitize yourself to the need to test yourself by taping and video and to work on eliminating them. There is a pdf resource for helping you to address this problem referenced on their site.


ummlike blogspot

ummlike top ten (not always working recently)


Take a look at Scary Interview (not always working recently) to sensitize yourself to some ways in which you might not want to present yourself in an interview; more humour than substance but has some very important messages for what to think about avoiding when you are preparing.


Types of interviews (5 minutes)

Ways in which you might be interviewed (5 minutes)

The interviewer's viewpoint and approach, and length of time for interview (5 minutes)

Question Time (50 minutes)

In preparation for the in-class discussion review the questions and responses suggested by the two companies' videos and

  1. prepare how you would respond to each of the questions in the kind of interviews you hope to have;
  2. be prepared to (a) ask questions of others in the class and (b) respond to questions that are put to you; and
  3. identify three questions which you would like to discuss how best to respond to in your particular search situation.

Practice, Practice, Practice - options for doing it (5 minutes)

References (10 minutes)

Looking ahead - Your to do list (5 minutes)