The purpose of the resume is to obtain an interview. The interview is your opportunity to sell your qualifications and to gather information. The interview is your opportunity to match your talents, interests, and experience to the needs of the employer. Your goal in the interview is to convince the employer that you are the right person for the job AND to evaluate whether it is the right position for you.
The Career Development Office offers students the opportunity to interview with organizations on campus during the Fall and Spring semesters. On-campus interviews are scheduled October - December and February - April. On-campus interviewing is a convenient opportunity to establish initial contact with prospective employers.
To learn more about the employers (and the positions) coming to campus for interviews, login to Hire-A-Muskie.
Interview Program Student Conduct Policy
As a student participant in the Interview Program, you are representing Xavier University to all employers. Your actions in the on- and off-campus recruiting process significantly influence the employers' continued interest in recruiting Xavier students. For this reason the following Student Conduct Policy has been established.
Once you are scheduled for an interview, you are responsible for being present on the designated date and time. Interview cancellations will be accepted up to two (2) full business days (Monday-Friday) prior to the day of the scheduled interview. Following this procedure affords another student the opportunity to interview in your place and the employer another opportunity to engage with a qualified Xavier student. A student who needs to cancel after the schedule freezes (after two days prior to scheduled interview) in Hire-A-Muskie must contact the Career Development Office at 513-745-3140. Late cancellation will be considered the same as a No Show.
No Show Policy
If you fail to attend a scheduled interview or fail to cancel an interview within the parameters stated above, you will be considered a No Show for that interview. The following details the steps the Career Development Office will take, your obligations, and potential consequences. Please note that until a final decision is made concerning your missed interview, you will be expected to meet interview obligations for which you are already scheduled.
First No Show
A missed interview constitutes a very serious problem. Our recruiters react very strongly to a "no-show" situation. For this reason, if you fail to show for a scheduled interview, you will be automatically deactivated from Hire-A-Muskie.
Deactivation from Hire-A-Muskie will remove your ability to apply for positions as well as sign up for future interviews for which you have been invited. You will be expected to meet interview obligations for which you are already scheduled.
You are required to do the following to be reactivated:
- Create and present a physical copy of a letter of apology to be sent to the employer with whom you missed the interview to the Career Development Office for approval.
- Upon sending the letter as an attachment via email, carbon copy the Career Development Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second No Show
If you fail to show for a scheduled interview a second time within an academic year, you will automatically be deactivated for the remainder of that year. To be reactivated the following year, you must complete the steps required under the First No Show.
The Career Development Office offers mock interviews for students and alumni. To participate in this service you may schedule a meeting with a career coach. For best results, please provide the counselor with a copy of your resume and information about the type of position for which you are interviewing prior to your mock interview appointment.
The mock interview is just like a real interview - wear professional attire, bring a resume, and arrive on time. The career coach will develop questions appropriate to your field so that you can practice your responses as well as your nonverbal communication. Upon request, the mock interview can be video recorded so that both you and the coach can evaluate your interviewing skills and discuss helpful suggestions for improvement. If you would like a video recording of your mock interview, please share this when scheduling your appointment. Practicing ahead of time will allow you to be more at ease when interviewing with an employer.
Informational Interviewing is a method for obtaining in-depth information about a career by asking questions and speaking with a professional in the field. It helps you further refine your understanding and knowledge of the field you are exploring.
Informational interviewing is a tool that can be extremely useful in helping you refine and focus a strategic plan for your job search. It can also be an action step in your job search if done well. Informational interviewing is not a job interview or a pretext to get in the door for a job interview; if you misuse the technique this way, you will probably fail to get past the receptionist. Used correctly, the technique of informational interviewing can produce two useful types of information:
- In-depth information about a field of work or a specific position, which helps you evaluate how well you fit this kind of work.
- Information about what an employer needs in order to see if it fits what you want and what you have to offer.
Informational interviewing is best suited for situations where career/job information is lacking. You may have difficulty in obtaining informational interviews with organizations that have well-defined recruiting systems; these employers provide recruiting booklets available in career resource libraries and at annual career fairs, and they expect you to read them. For that reason, consider small as well as large organizations when setting up informational interviews. Also, check the CDO calendar to learn about any upcoming group informational sessions. Some alumni offices offer programs to link career "prospectors" with alumni in specific fields; so, be sure to check this resource as well.
How to Set Up an Informational Interview
- Identify people who may have information to share.
- Review your contact network for possible sources and ask for referrals from faculty, alumni, and career coaches.
- Meet with an individual who works in a field you are considering.
- Be very clear that you are interested in learning more about a particular field or industry, not looking for a job, when you call to make an appointment.
- Explain that you are in the process of developing a plan for a job search and would like some expert advice.
- Be sure to use the name of your referral source and indicate that you have already done research; make it easy for your source to say "yes."
Sample Questions to Ask
- How did you become interested in working for this company?
- Tell me about your current job.
- How did you choose this career?
- What is the best educational preparation for your work?
- Which part of your current job is most challenging?
- Which part is most frustrating?
- Do you think that there is enough growth in your position/company that you would advise someone like me to get into this field?
- Of all the individuals that you have met in this field, what personal attributes do you think are essential to being successful?
- What experiences have you had that you think have been invaluable to your learning the business?
- What does your company look for when recruiting people?
- How did you get your job?
- Describe a typical work day in your position.
- What motivates you to stay in your position or with this company?
- What is the reason most people give when they leave this job/company?
- From your perspective, what are the problems/concerns for someone working in this industry?
- What classes or additional training do you recommend?
- What kinds of training opportunities are available here?
- What "grade" would you give your organization for staying current with changes in this field? Why?
- Who are your major competitors?
- If you could do it all over again, would you still choose the same career path? Why or why not?
- What is your response to my resume? How would you suggest that I change it?
- Considering what you know about my skills, education, and experience, what other fields or jobs would you suggest I investigate before I make a career decision?
- What else do you think I need to know about this field to make an informed decision?
- Can you recommend another person in this company or field that I could speak with about this career option?
- If I think of additional questions, do you mind if I contact you again?
A growing number of employers use a behavioral-based approach to conducting interviews. The general premise of this approach is past behavior predicts future performance. Thus, if an organization hires you, they expect that you will demonstrate competencies within their organization in much the same way as you have in the past. The questions are designed to determine your behavior as it relates to the work environment and the qualities that are important in a particular position.
Behavioral interviews give every candidate an opportunity to answer the same questions while specifically highlighting their past experiences. This gives the well-prepared interviewee an opportunity to really stand out.
Sample Behavioral Interview Questions
- Describe an experience when you were an especially creative problem solver.
- Tell me about a time when you were disappointed with the results of your efforts.
- Describe a pressured situation you have dealt with in the past six months and how you handled it.
- Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion.
- Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.
- Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.
Behavioral-based interview questions ask for examples. This provides the interviewee the opportunity to tell a story about their past experiences that prove their abilities in the skills the employer seeks in a candidate.
It is a good practice to get into the habit of sending thank-you notes to those who give you their time, either in person or over the phone. Always write thank-you notes within a day or two. It is ok to send a thank you note via email, but follow it up with a handwritten or typed note sent by mail. Thank you note formats vary from handwritten or typed notes in a card format or a formal typed letter.
It is especially important to write a thank-you note after an employment interview to at least the primary interviewer. If you are interviewed by more than one individual, it may be helpful to write to each person. When writing individual notes, it is important to personalize them as much as possible. This requires more time and effort but is an impressive touch. Hint: Ask for a business card from each person you meet during the interview. This is not only efficient, but also ensures that you have the contact information, correct spelling of names, and titles for each interviewer.
Thank You Letter Format
A typical thank-you note after an interview incorporates the following:
Paragraph 1 shows gratitude and makes specific reference to the job.
Paragraph 2 reiterates interest in the position and stresses key points working in the candidate's favor. When writing to more than one interviewer, you may want to note a particular question asked by the interviewer or thank them for a specific kindness that was extended.
Paragraph 3 stresses the "fit."
Paragraph 4 restates gratitude and closes on a positive note.
Remember: The thank-you note you don't write will be remembered just as much if not more than the one you do write.