Posts Tagged Interviewing

Using the STAR Method in an Interview

Posted on April 24, 2014 with No Comments

Computers shaking handsOver the last few years, we’ve written various posts about the interview process and how to best prepare for such a daunting step within the job search. However, the one thing we haven’t discussed is the importance of learning and practicing the STAR method, so you’re probably asking yourself; what do we mean by the STAR method? Well, it’s a tool you can use when you’re asked either a situational or behavioral question during an interview. STAR is an acronym for:

Situation, Task, Action, Result/Resolution

So, if an interviewer asks you:
“Tell me about a time when you led a team and it went well?”

    • By using the STAR method, you’d describe an example when you led a team and it was a success- the Situation.
  • For example, “Last year, I coordinated and led a team of volunteers on an Alternative Spring Break in New Jersey where I was responsible for 6 students for a week.”

    • Next, you’ll want to describe the work or Tasks you performed.
  • For example, “I drove all of us to New Jersey to help a small community center with the restoration of their town center near the waterfront where Hurricane Sandy occurred.”

    • At this point you’d want to describe your role as the leader- your Actions.
  • For example, “As part of my role, I collaborated with the Community Center Director each day to determine the top priorities, whether it was clean up or restoration of the building, then I’d delegate a job for each of our student volunteers.”

    • Finally, you’d want to describe the result of your leadership- Result.
  • For example, “By giving each volunteer a job, we created a more efficient work environment and ended up finishing the restoration sooner than we had expected.”

    So, what are the benefits of using the STAR method?

    • You’re guaranteed to answer questions with clear examples.
    • It should keep you within the suggested 2 minute time frame for your answers.
    • And it will showcase the skills you’ll bring to the position you’re applying for.

    Practice using it, and then try it in your next big interview. It’s guaranteed to help you succeed.

    ~Danielle

    Don’t Forget to Say Thanks!

    Posted on April 9, 2014 with No Comments

    Hand writing thank you with a penSo you passed the interview stage.  Now what??

    Send a thank you message within a few days of the interview.

    In addition to being courteous, a thank you demonstrates enthusiasm, reiterates interest in a position, and provides another shot at selling yourself for the job.  Plus it demonstrates strong communication skills!

    It’s always beneficial to add more than just “thank you.”  But what should be included?

    • Start with the pleasantries. Thank the employer for taking time to meet with you.  Tell them you enjoyed your conversation.  Discuss interest or excitement about this position and the company.
    • Get specific. Talk about a key moment or expand on an answer.  Discuss personal skills and experiences and how they would be assets for the company.  If there was an important detail left out of the interview, highlight it—briefly.  If part of the interview didn’t go as well as planned, address that here (but don’t make excuses).  Make a connection to information the employer gave during the interview.  Say something like, “When you told me about x, I thought about y.”
    • Sign off. Let the employer know how you’ll follow up, and thank them again.

    Whether to email or mail the thank you depends on the preference of the employer or on the type of interview (phone vs. in person).  The time frame for notification could also dictate how it should be sent. (You don’t want the employer to receive your the note—by mail—the day after they’ve made their decision, right?)

    Here are a few more tips:

    • If the interview was with more than one person, send each one a customized note.
    • Keep the thank you concise.  It doesn’t need to be as long as a cover letter.
    • As always, remember to proofread… Don’t send a note that reads “thanks you.”

    After the thank you has been sent, wait.  If you haven’t heard from the employer by the time they specified, follow up by phone or email and express your continued interest.

    You’ll find a lot of different advice on how to say thank you.  The most important thing is that you do it – one way or another.

    ~Abbey, Career Peer Mentor

    Now What?

    Posted on March 20, 2014 with No Comments

    Stones aligned to form tiny footprintsThe UVM Job Fairs are over for this academic year. Whether you attended the fair or not, here are your next steps on the journey to gain career experience:

    If you attended the fair:

    • Send a simple email thank you to employers you met.
    • Assess what you learned about your interests and skills and what employers are looking for to set a direction for your next steps. Identify your priorities and a list of organizations you want to pursue.
    • Complete the Job Fair survey on Catamount Job Link to assist the Career Center’s plans for next year’s events.

    If you missed the fair:

    • Opportunities to gain career experience are on-going!  Use job search information to assess where you are and the resources available.
    • Search Catamount Job Link and other job/internship databases to identify options.
    • Connect, connect, connect!  Use your networks and explore professional associations to learn more.  The Vermont Alumni Networking Event is April 9th and the DC Alumni Networking is June 5th.

    Keep the conversations going!  Delve into your field of interest. Be bold and take tangible steps toward your goals.

    ~Holly

    Top 5 Reasons To Attend the Spring Job Fair

    Posted on March 13, 2014 with No Comments

    Find Job key on keyboard

    1. Bigger is Better! This is the biggest Job Fair in UVM’s history124 organizations are coming to campus to meet YOU.  It is the closest you will get to someone knocking on your door with an opportunity!  Come talk to people who are hiring and learn about their work culture and opportunities.
    2. Now IS the Right Time: You don’t need to be a graduating senior to come to the fair!  Come now! Wherever you are in your studies, learn about what is out there and what employers are looking for in top candidates.
    3. Find Hidden Jobs 80% of jobs aren’t publically advertised. How can you find them?  You talk with people!  People are coming to campus hoping to meet good applicants for jobs and internships.  Don’t disappoint them!
    4. Practice! Nervous about talking with employers?  The best way to be less nervous is to practice, practice, practice. Each time you introduce yourself and ask a question, you’ll get more comfortable and relaxed.
    5. Smile! Need a professional photo for your LinkedIn profile? We will be taking photos and emailing them to you.  Make sure your presentation on LinkedIn is professional as you use it to network with people in your fields of interest.

    See you at the Spring Job Fair on Wednesday, March 19, 2-5pm.
    Davis Center, 4th Floor.

    ~Holly & Jill

    Savvy Seniors: Want to Join the Team?

    Posted on March 5, 2014 with No Comments

    Blue Cross Blue Shield Staff on stairs preparing for race

    How to Interview like a Pro: Tips from a Local Recruiter

    For most people, an interview creates a lot of stress and anxiety—it is an intimidating way to make a great first impression. For most employers though, the goal of inviting an applicant in for an interview is to get to know them. It’s a meeting based around discovery. We want to know who you are and if you could successfully fit in with the culture of our organization, the position, and the department. We also want you to ask questions that can help you make a decision about whether our company is the right place for you.

    Quick tips for standing out & having a successful interview:

    • Dress for the job you’re applying for. It’s okay to ask what the dress code is when you’re scheduling the interview.
    • Make eye contact, smile, and shake the interviewer’s hand.
    • Bring a few copies of your resume with you to the interview.
    • If you have a samples of something that relates to the position you’re applying for, have it on hand (i.e. for a graphic design position, bring some of your design work).
    • Don’t over-think things. Trying to perfect every sentence comes off as robotic.
    • Be natural and be yourself; it is okay to smile and laugh! We can sense when an applicant is putting on a façade.
    • Work experience and qualifications are important, but they’re not everything. We’re trying to find someone who “fits” in with the department and the company as a whole. Try to find something in common with the interviewer and make an emotional connection.
    • As the interview wraps up, ask what the next steps are. In most instances, recruiters are happy to let you know where they are in the hiring process and when you should expect to hear back.

    ~Myra Fundis, UVM ‘11
    Human Resources Wellness Specialist with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont

    Want to learn more? Join us and special guest National Life for:
    Savvy Seniors: Interview Like a Pro: Tuesday, March 18, 12-1pm at the Hub

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