Interview Preparation Starts Now

Written by Leo Bird: graduation

When I first started interviewing, I found it difficult to think of answers to behavioral analysis questions. This is a form of story telling, and stories require conflict. So I decided to keep a diary of all the times I made a decision or someone commented on my work habits. The stories do not need to be epic to be used.

One thing I wish I knew in college was that exploring the world would fuel these stories. Being a part of a sport, math club, or even participating in class can be ways to show your values. Watching TV does not create conflict, unless you were discussing the content of the program. Participating in group projects helps out a lot.

The more prepared you are, the less scary the interview is. They might say it is okay to not rush on your answers, and most of the interviewers I have encountered seem nice when I talk to them. A few seconds of hesitation to think things through may be fine. However, I think the interview should feel like a conversation.

With my interview at Transamerica and phone interview with Aerotek I was not as rapid fire with answers as I should have. With Transamerica, it was mostly due to inexperience. With Aerotek, I do not think I prepared as much as I should have and it was also a phone interview. The phone interview feels more informal as looks do not matter, and knowing when to speak is harder. The interviewer even told me that I did not have to answer her questions, but I did not believe her, so I answered with responses unrelated to the question. (That may or may not be the best idea.)

My last two interviews went well. The one at the staffing agency, I talked to a person who was few years older than me and saw me playing Ultimate on campus. We talked conversationally about potential jobs, excel, and math computer programs. The other was for being a math tutor supervisor for Burmese immigrants. I easily came up with ideas for teaching plans for them, like how to keep them motivated. I also did research on the Burmese through our newspapers.

Also it is important to check the forms of identification they require. You definitely need at least one. The scariest part of one of my recent interviews was that I forgot two forms of identification and my social security number. However it ended up being not such a big deal. You should memorize your social security number. That is difficult for me, as I do not use it as often as my phone number or email. If they give you a visitor nametag, be sure to return it.

I have listed some questions that have come up in interviews I have been in:

Think of a time you used creativity to solve a problem.

What keeps you motivated to do your work?

What plans do you have for this company?

If you think you do not have enough exams passed or lack job experience, try a staffing agency. They give you jobs that will not be your final one, but will be a stepping stone to bigger jobs.