November 28, 2014 21:31 UTC

June 10, 2004 - Getting a Job, Part 2: The Interview - 2004-06-15

Broadcast on COAST TO COAST: June 10, 2004

AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on Wordmaster -- surviving a job interview!

RS: Here's the first bit of advice from human resources consultant Sharon Armstrong: It's not just words you have to think about, but also how you express them. Avoid, she says, a flat monotone voice that people sometimes get when they are nervous.

ARMSTRONG: "It loses something. And I think that it can add so much if you show your excitement and your eagerness to work for that company."

AA: Next: Be prepared for a common approach known as behavioral-based interviewing.

ARMSTRONG: "And that is where past performance will indicate future performance. So good interviewers will ask you very detailed questions where they'll put you on the spot and they'll want to know specifically your role in what you did for a particular project.

"And so the key to giving a good answer to a behavioral interview question is to do what I call a STAR, S-T-A-R. The S and the T stand for explaining a situation or a task that you were given, the A is the action you took and the R is the results."

RS: "So what you're saying is that you need to be prepared before you walk in the door."

ARMSTRONG: "Go through some mock interviews, if you can have friends ask you questions. Practice in the mirror, answering questions. Go in with three or four things you really want to stress about yourself. And then you can bring those out no matter what the question is asked."

RS: "How do you follow up after the interview?"

ARMSTRONG: "Please send a thank you letter. I'm begging you. And you can do it by e-mail. And in that thank you letter you do a couple of things. You make sure that you express sincere appreciation for the time that they spent interviewing you. You have an opportunity to re-emphasize some of your strongest qualities. You have another chance to make that case as to how your skills match their needs.

"If there was something that you wish you had said a little more about, again an opportunity to do it here. Now that sounds like a lot to cover, but you do it very briefly, in a short couple of paragraphs and get it out right away."

RS: "Keep it short, keep it simple?"

ARMSTRONG: "Absolutely. Again, they're business people; they don't have a lot of time. Just getting it is going to make a big difference. I talk to recruiters all the time. They never get thank you letters. It's such a simple business etiquette that people just don't take the time to do it."

AA: These days, Sharon Armstrong says interviewers ask tougher questions than they used to.

ARMSTRONG: "It's no longer 'what do you see yourself doing in five years?' Those are old questions. They're asking questions that are going to get at more specific things. For example: 'Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker criticized your work in front of others. How did you respond? How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others?' They're trying to get at your communication skills.

"'Give me a specific example of a time when you sold your supervisor on an idea or concept. How did you proceed? What was the result?' That's your assertiveness. So be ready for these kinds of questions, and if you have this experience in your background, just be able to communicate it effectively. You don't have to use the proper language all the time, just get across your results and your accomplishments."

RS: "And you probably shouldn't be afraid to say 'well, I don't understand that question.'"

ARMSTRONG: "Absolutely. And don't feel like you have to answer immediately. Take a moment. Pausing is a comfortable -- if you're comfortable with it, it will seem comfortable. But if you sometimes launch into an answer right away, you might head down a road you don't want to go. Say 'what an interesting question. May I think about that for a moment?' No one would say 'no, you can't.'

AA: "What kind of answer would you give to that first one?"

ARMSTRONG: "'Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker criticized your work in front others? How did you respond? How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others?' I think it's a hard question and you've got to be careful that you're answering it honestly but effectively. They don't want to know that you flew off the handle and you have a very negative response.

"They're going to want to know that you have some teamwork skills and you tried to engage that person and question them a little more about what they found negative perhaps about your idea, and how they might add to it and make it more workable."

AA: "What if that's not the truth. What if the last time someone criticized you, you -- as you say -- flew off the handle, got angry?"

ARMSTRONG: "I would say that honestly, say that 'I've learned from that and I don't do it anymore.' The secret is to take a weakness and make it into a positive. So say 'I used to have a very bad habit of not being able to handle that well, but I recognized that that wasn't getting me anywhere in the business world.'"

RS: And finally, at the end, Sharon Armstrong says be sure to ask some of your own questions, questions like: "What are some of the objectives you would like accomplished in this job?" "What would you like to have done within the next two or three months?"

ARMSTRONG: "Remember that you are assessing the company as much as they are assessing you, and if you fail to ask questions at the end of the interview, they might interpret that as you not being interested."

AA: Sharon Armstrong runs a consulting business in Washington called Human Resources 9-1-1, a name that plays off the emergency telephone number in America.

RS: You can find today's program at our Web site -- voanews.com/wordmaster. And our e-mail address is word@voanews.com. With Avi Arditti, I'm Rosanne Skirble.

MUSIC: "Get a Job"/The Silhouettes

(First broadcast in July 2002)

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Ferguson Protest

    Video After Protests, Ferguson Looks for Answers

    On Monday, protesters burned buildings and police cars and destroyed businesses in the Midwestern U.S. city of Ferguson, Missouri. Their actions followed the announcement that a grand jury had decided not to send a white police officer to trial for shooting and killing an unarmed black teen. More

  • Video US Evangelicals Debate Homosexuality in the Bible

    An increasing number of mainline Christian groups are also accepting same-sex unions. But most evangelical Christians say the Bible condemns sexual relations among people of the same sex. Now, a well-known student of evangelicalism is saying that the traditional reading of the Bible is wrong. More

  • An oil derrick is seen at a fracking site for extracting oil outside of Williston, North Dakota March 11, 2013.  North Dakota's booming oil business has quickly ran up against a serious shortage of housing for the thousands of workers who have poured into

    Audio Falling Oil Prices Affect Nations Differently

    Oil prices have dropped 30 percent since June. Increased American oil production is one reason for the drop in world oil prices. Nigeria has announced measures the government would take to increase income. But, in India the lower oil prices have helped ease inflation. More

  • Audio North Korea Warns of Punishment for US, Allies

    North Korea said it would punish countries that supported a UN resolution condemning North Korea's human rights record. The recent U.N. committee vote called on the Security Council to send North Korea to the International Criminal Court for suspected violations, including torture and murder. More

  • A Libyan military soldier fires his weapon during clashes with Islamic extremist militias in Benghazi, Libya, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Government troops entered central Benghazi Wednesday after nearly 10 days of fighting Islamic extremist militias, a mili

    Audio Unrest, Abuse Prevent Solution in Libya

    Amnesty International is condemning all sides in Libya for human rights abuses and violations of international law. The rights group is calling on militia commanders to end the abuses. But that call is unlikely to have much of an effect on the commanders, who have never been punished. More

Featured Stories

  • Hunger Games: Mockingjay

    Video 'Hunger Games' Expected to Top Holiday Ticket Sales

    'Mockingjay - Part 1' is the third in the four part movie series. It earned about $123 million in its opening weekend. Not bad, but millions less than tickets sales in the release weekend of the first two 'Hunger Games' films. What explains the drop in audience interest? More

  • Battle of Cold Harbor

    Audio Strong Defense at Cold Harbor Gives Lee His Last Major Victory

    After Northern forces defeated Southern troops at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Vicksburg, Mississippi, General Ulysses Grant decided to hit the Confederates with the full force of the Union armies. The fight did not go as he expected. But General Grant was resolved to defeat the Confederates. More

  • Alzheimer brain

    Audio East Meets West to Treat Alzheimer's Patients

    But researchers in California say a new way of treating Alzheimer’s disease is showing promise for reversing some of that memory loss. The new treatment combines western medicine with eastern philosophy – ideas rooted in Asian religions. More

  • Mr. Van Rijsselberghe worked on the project with scientists from the Free University of Amsterdam.

    Video Dutch Experiment Grows Vegetables in Sea Water

    Due to rising sea level, farmers are increasingly unable to use fields close to the sea. A farmer in the Netherlands is growing small, but healthy and tasty crops in a mixture of fresh and salt water. Farmers in Pakistan may soon be growing Dutch potatoes in areas affected by rising sea waters. More

  • Jonathan Evans Performs with Bonerama

    Video With Bonerama, Three Trombones Lead the Big Parade

    The New Orleans-based group brings together funk, rock, blues and jazz, creating a gumbo for the ears. Bonerama has horns like many bands. But, unlike most groups, the trombone players lead this band. Reporter Jonathan Evans performed with the band and wrote about it for American Mosaic. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs