Career Planning

RETAILING IN ACTION  A.4: Interview Skills

Preparation for the Job Interview

Research the Employer!!!


Interview Dynamics: Content and Process

Your Non-Verbal Communication

Characteristics Employers Typically Seek in a Prospective Employee

Self-confidence Assertiveness
Initiative Intelligence
Motivation Ability to handle pressure
Enthusiasm Flexibility
Interpersonal skills Leadership potential
Organizational skills Communication skills

Four Stages of the Job Interview

  1. Breaking the Ice. Structured primarily by the interviewer, opening moments are important because they provide the interviewer with a first impression of you. Personal appearance, ease, and positive attitude are all important!

  2. Exploring the Background and Qualifications of the Interviewee. Applicant can begin to demonstrate increasing assertiveness and self-confidence by communicating awareness of skills and interests to interviewer.

  3. Matching Personal Qualifications with the Prospective Job. Applicant may show even greater degrees of assertiveness and may actually interview the interviewer in order to gain sufficient information about the employer. Meaningful questions about the company will help!

  4. Summarizing the Interview. Sharing of impressions by both the interviewer and the applicant. Also a discussion of the next step in the application process. This stage is again dominated by the interviewer.

    Some Tips for Positive Interview Behavior

    Questions Frequently Asked During Job Interviews

    Possible Questions to Ask Potential Employers

    Improve Your Listening Skills

    To succeed at an interview, you must know how to communicate verbally. You must also learn how to listen. These skills are needed if you want to secure not only a retailing position after you graduate but also to rise in the corporate ladder after you secure your job. A generally shared trait of those who do poorly at job interviews is their inability to listen. While they "really" would like to get the job, they seem to have no interest in what is being said by the interviewer. The balance of this section is devoted to ways in which you can improve your listening skills.

    Interviewers speak at a much slower pace than the interviewee can process and understand what is being said. Hence, there is more time for interviewees to use their brains doing other things. In fact, the slower a person speaks, the more time there will be to do other things. If the interviewee is a poor listener, his or her mind will dwell on other things -- not what is going on in the interview. On the other hand, the effective interviewee (listener) uses this time to better understand what the interviewer is saying. If the interviewee does not fully comprehend what is being said, he or she should try to think it out.

    Poor listeners let their minds move aimlessly or without plan. They might think of where they will be going the next day or what attire to wear on a date that night. Poor listeners focus on what they intend to say next and may miss some important points that the interviewer might be making. Listening is not an easy task, it requires discipline on your part to concentrate on the interviewer's message and questions.

    Ask Questions. To succeed in an interview, ask questions. If you do not totally understand a point the interviewer is making, ask a question. Before going into the interview, be prepared with a set of questions you will ask if the interviewer does not cover these essential points. Firms are looking for individuals who have the ability to communicate verbally. By asking questions, you can demonstrate to the interviewer that you possess this skill.

    Be Sensitive. An effective listener is aware of the interviewer's voice -- the rate, tone, and pitch of speech. Just as good salespeople pick up clues from what the customer is saying that will help them close a sale, the good interviewee listens closely and picks up clues from what the interviewer is saying. For example, if the interviewer develops a point and restates it in another way, you should be aware that this is an important topic. Sometimes, interviewers are not that proficient and do not make things as clear as they should be. By listening to their voices, you can become sensitive to what is important.

    Use Your Body. Communicate to the interviewer by using your body. Focus your eyes on the interviewer; do not let them stray. The interviewer will perceive you are actively listening. Do not slouch in your chair but look alert. If you respond in a slow and deliberate manner, this will convey to the interviewer that you are paying attention. One last thought; rephrase some of what the interviewer is saying, before you respond to a question. This clearly indicates to the interviewer that you are paying attention.

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