Preparing for a Job Interview 

On Thursday, October 7th, as part of the Encova Career Development Center (ECDC) Professional Workshop Series, Fairmont State University held the presentation, “Making the Introduction: Preparing Yourself for the Interview to leave a Lasting Impression”, hosted by Fairmont State Alum, Jessica Hall. The presentation focused on how to prepare for and do well in a job interview, so one can leave a lasting impression. As the Supervisor of Talen Acquisition at WVU Medicine, Hall has a lot of experience and advice about how to present yourself before, during, and after the job interview, as one of the main components of her job is finding appropriate candidates for specific jobs.  

Hall began the talk by briefly touching on what happens before the job interview- specifically the search for the job and applying. It can be difficult to know exactly where one wants to apply in a job pool that is so large today, but Hall gave the advice to organize your search based on what you’re looking for. This means applying to jobs that have the right fit for the number of hours and which days one can work in the week, along with being in the field they would like to work in.  

There are many resources one can use when applying for jobs. This can also make one’s job search more difficult, as it can be overwhelming to have to choose which websites to use when applying for jobs. Hall advises researching the type of position(s) one is applying to and seeing which job search engine has an audience for that field. Some websites focus on more hourly jobs and part-time work, like Indeed, where others, such as LinkedIn, are geared towards full-time positions. Hall advises when creating a profile on these websites, “A little investment time on the front end of putting in more information on your profile will really benefit you in the long run of your job search using these websites.”  

After one applies and gets an interview, Hall says, “One should take the initiative when scheduling the interview, as it helps you put your best foot forward for the interview.” Examples of taking initiative for the interview could be asking an employer where the interview will be held and what one should bring.  

In the interview, Hall stresses the most important thing to do is to be yourself. Hall says, “It is felt by the other people in the room when you are your genuine, authentic self.” Hall also advises to still be professional and polished while being one’s authentic self. This includes dressing professionally, using good hygiene, and being prepared for the interview. 

One’s preparation for the interview can be focused on different parts of the interview. One of these components of the interview is the introduction, where one gives an introduction about themself to the interviewer. Hall stresses not only talking about who you are personally but also including one’s job experience and accomplishments, sharing why you chose to apply to that specific company and that you are grateful for the interview. 

Beyond the introduction, one should be prepared to both ask and answer questions during the interview. Some of the questions one will be asked are technical, meaning they are questions specific to the role and industry one is applying. Other questions an interviewer asks will be behavioral questions, which are meant to evaluate how one will handle future situations on the job. Behavioral questions can be much more difficult to prepare for than technical questions, as one will most likely have a pretty good sense of the technical aspects of the jobs they apply to, but they may struggle to be the correct fit for the company behavior-wise. 

Behavioral questions are asked by an employer to determine how one would really behave as an employee of the company based on how you have handled situations in the past. These questions will be based on competencies, which are based on the role of the job. While there are competencies specific to different jobs, there are general competencies that most jobs will ask questions based on. One of these competencies is communication. Hall says, “A communications competency questions would be something along the lines of, ‘Tell me about a time when you had a miscommunication with a team member or customer and how you handled the situation?’” Hall advises when answering these questions to think of a specific example and not simply dismiss the questions by saying you have never had any communication problems because the employer wants to hear how you will handle these situations. Whatever example one chooses, one should take ownership of the situation and explain how one solved the problem, and took steps to prevent any miscommunications in the future.  

While these behavioral questions can be difficult to answer, if one takes the time to think up different situations that would apply to these questions, one will be better equipped to handle them during an interview. By doing this, along with being one’s authentic self during the interview, one can leave job interviews confident that they have a chance at getting the job.