Graduation is commencing once again and with that, the opportunity for some of the brightest young minds to join the workforce. The latest word is out regarding the job market for the graduating class of 2011, and the word is good, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. No, not as in a “get out of debt” job; but as in there’s a good chance for those graduating from college in 2011 of landing a new employment opportunity.
Another signal that the Class of 2011 will enter a better job market than their predecessors is the fact that fewer than 3 percent of employers described the job market for the Class of 2011 as poor. For the Class of 2010, on the other hand, that number was nearly 16 percent.
The most important thing that will happen after graduation will be the first round of interviews that these young men and women will embark on. Most colleges do a great job preparing their students for graduation, but it is always good to make sure you have practiced and truly honed your skills when it comes to the interview.
Let’s face it, we don’t interview every day and it can really be an unnerving process, so the more you know the better. Here are 20 questions designed around behavior that some of the top HR people ask in the interview. Take the time to go through each question, first write out your response, read it, and ask yourself if your response makes sense.
Get a friend or classmate, even your Mom to help you practice, and make sure they ask you the questions and practice your response. You want to treat this like a speech, and the more you are prepared with your material the more confident and attractive you will appear in the actual interview.
Here are 20 Behavioral Interview Questions to prepare with:
- By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments.
- Describe the most significant or creative presentation that you have had to complete.
- Give an example of how you applied knowledge from previous coursework to a project in another class.
- Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with your ideas. What did you do?
- Describe a situation in which you found that your results were not up to your professor’s or supervisor’s expectations. What happened? What action did you take?
- What was the most complex assignment you have had? What was your role?
- How was your transition from high school to college? Did you face any particular problems?
- Compare and contrast the times when you did work which was above the standard with times your work was below the standard.
- How have you differed from your professors in evaluating your performance? How did you handle the situation?
- Describe some projects or ideas (not necessarily your own) that were implemented, or carried out successfully primarily because of your efforts.
- Describe a situation that required a number of things to be done at the same time. How did you handle it? What was the result?
- Tell of a time when your active listening skills really paid off for you – maybe a time when other people missed the key idea being expressed.
- Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. Why was this person difficult? How did you handle that person?
- Give me a specific example of something you did that helped build enthusiasm in others?
- Tell me about a difficult situation when it was desirable for you to keep a positive attitude. What did you do?
- Give me an example of a time you had to make an important decision. How did you make the decision? How does it affect you today?
- Give me an example of a time you had to persuade other people to take action. Were you successful?
- Describe a specific problem you solved for your employer or professor. How did you approach the problem? What role did others play? What was the outcome?
- Describe a time when you got co-workers or classmates who dislike each other to work together. How did you accomplish this? What was the outcome?
- Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker or classmate understand a task. How did you assist him or her? What was the result?
Practice these and really grill yourself before you go into an interview. Do your homework on the company, and see if there is any way to work the employer into any of the answers that you provided. Confidence is a good quality if you know what you are talking about, and being more prepared will help you be as confident as possible.
Congratulations on your graduation, now make sure that you are putting all that hard work to use!
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- 10 Quick Tips for a Successful Interview