I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that I am going to both ACPA and TPE/NASPA next month. Both associations have been offering job search help and I’ve been taking full advantage of both. ACPA offered mock phone interviews and since interviewing is what I am most nervous about, I signed myself up.
The mock interview happened last week. I was originally trying to find an office at my mom’s job that I could use but seeing as though my mother is not at work at the moment, that wasn’t going to work. We have a walk-in closet room at my house so I set up shop in there. Before the call, I set everything up. I had my resume with me, some flashcards and a notebook to take some notes. When the lady called, I instantly got nervous. However, right from the start, she had me talking and laughing so I got really comfortable. We chit chatted for a minute or two and then she started the interview. She told me to pretend it was for a Student Athlete Advising job. The fact that she chit chatted with me before the actual interview helped me out a lot. I’m not sure if most interviews will go like that but if they do, I think I can handle that.
The first question she asked was “tell me about yourself” (technically not a question) but it is the most common interview question. I had recently read an article that taught you how to answer this question in five parts. It stated that the answer should be no shorter than 2 minutes but no longer than 3 minutes. The five parts included professional achievements, educational achievements, applicable skills, professional goals and finally, why the company (school in our case). I found this to be really useful when I was thinking about my answer.
She asked me 16 questions in total. I tried to write them all down so I could be prepared for them in the future. Some of the questions she asked included:
• What kind of office type do I work in best?
• Tell me about a theory to practice experience
• What are 3 of your strengths?
• What are some issues facing student athletes?
• Why am I the ideal candidate for the position?
• Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult student.
The last question she asked threw me off because I was not ready for it at all. She asked “Is there a question you were expecting us to ask that we didn’t. If so, what is the question and what would be the answer?” I froze up. Luckily for me, it wasn’t a real interview because I started laughing when I couldn’t think of anything. She said that question is a chance for me to tell them something about myself that I hadn’t already. So the question would be “What haven’t you gotten to tell us that we should know about you?” She said I could use this opportunity to set myself out from other candidates. She said if I couldn’t think of anything, I could always ask a clarifying question.
After the interview she gave me some feedback. She said I did a great job and that the answers I gave were really good. I asked about my speed since I am a very fast talker and she said she didn’t have any trouble understanding me. She also said that if I had filler words (uhm, I think, etc.) that she didn’t catch them and that they weren’t distracting.
When we got off the phone, I was very pleased with what had just happened. For being as nervous as I am, I was able to pull through and give a good interview. To continue to prepare, I’ve gotten some index cards and wrote common questions on them. On the lined side, I’m writing bullet points for my answers. I know you’re not supposed to sound scripted but if I can at least have some flash cards to practice, then I think I should be fine.
I have some interviews at Career Central coming up this week, so I’m gonna use the time to prepare for those interviews and get some practice with interviewing.