Welcome to the module on nailing an interview!

 

In this module, you’ll learn how to prepare for, practice and nail an interview.

There are three parts to this module:

  • Part I is “Interview Preparation”
  • Part II is “Conducting a Mock-Interview”
  • Part III is “Interview Performance”

Mentees, please review all three parts of the module and determine whether you’d like to complete one, two or all three parts. For example, you may decide that you’d like to focus on performance and interview prep, but skip the mock interview section. Be sure to let your mentor know the parts you plan to complete ahead of your scheduled meeting.

Pay close attention to the parts of the module specific for either mentor or mentee.

Part I: Interview Preparation

Goal

To learn how to research companies and apply the STAR method in preparation for an interview.

Objectives

  1. To understand how to research a company/organization.
  2. To understand how to apply your STAR responses to frequently asked interview questions.

Time Commitment

Total Time for this Module
90 minutes to two hours.

Time required to prepare for team meeting
Mentee: One hour to watch the video and complete the worksheets.

Mentor: 20 to 30 minutes to review the worksheets completed by your mentee and complete the company research information for your company.

Time required for team meeting
Forty-five minutes to an hour. This meeting can occur in person, by phone, or via a video-conferencing platform.

Activities

1. Watch the Boston Consulting Group video entitled “Nailing the Interview”
2. Review the Company Research questions below.
3. Review the STAR METHOD overview.
4. Complete Key Strengths Worksheets I and II.
5. Complete the STAR method worksheet.
6. Review the Sample Questions for Interview preparation.

Worksheets

1. Key strengths worksheet.
2. Key strengths II worksheet.
3. STAR method worksheet.

Mentee Pre-session activity
Please answer the research questions using your mentor’s company, complete the Key Strengths Worksheets I and II, and complete the STAR Method Worksheet to the best of your ability.

Keep in mind that your goal is to align your STAR stories with the questions listed in the interview preparation portion of the module. For instance:

  • “Tell me about Yourself” (under Communication Skills) is being asked in the context of the workplace.
  • “You have prior experience in ____…” (under Problem Solving) is asking you to define your potential area(s) of growth.

Mentees, please email all three worksheets to your mentor before your team meeting and bring copies to your in-person (phone or Skype) session. You need to be prepared to discuss these worksheets and practice your STAR stories with your mentor.

Mentor Pre-Session Activity: Discussion Guide

Follow the steps below to assist your mentee with this activity.

1. Remind your mentee to complete the key strengths and STAR method worksheets and email them to you in advance of your in-person (phone or Skype) meeting.
2. Ask your mentee to practice delivering the STAR stories aloud. It may take multiple takes for the mentee to deliver concise statements. Ensure the critical elements of the Situation, Task, Action and
sections are included.
3. When reviewing the Sample Questions for Interview Preparation with your mentee, remind them that all of their responses should fit within the context of the workplace. The goal is to align their STAR stories with them. For instance:

  • “Tell me about Yourself” (under Communication Skills) is being asked in the context of the workplace—not personal hobbies or habits.
  • “You have prior experience in ____…” (under Problem Solving) is asking your Mentee to define their potential area(s) of growth.

Company Research 

Researching an employer is a critical step in the interview process. Please help your mentee answer the following question for your company or organization.

  • How many people are employed by the company/organization?
  • In which city is the company/organization based and does it have multiple locations?
  • What activities does it perform? For example, it might import, manufacture, design, program, train, provide a service, etc.
  • Has the company been in the news lately? What happened and what is their perspective?
  • How can your mentee find this information about another company on their own in the future? The company website, LinkedIn page and Glassdoor would all be good places to start.

Outcome Checklist 

  • Did your mentee practice delivering their STAR stories and respond to sample interview questions?
  • Did your mentee know how to research a company/organization on their own to prepare for an interview?
  • Does your mentee know how to best use body language for clear and positive non-verbal communication?

Part II: Conducting Mock Interviews

Goal

To practice responses to frequently asked interview questions.

Objectives

1. To practice delivering aloud the STAR stories you developed during the Interview Preparation module.
2. To practice responding to interview questions.
3. To recognize positive and negative body language and responses during an interview.

Time Commitment

Total Time for this Module
90 minutes to two hours.

Time needed to prepare for team meeting:

  • Mentee: One hour to watch the video and complete the worksheets.

Time needed for team meeting: 
Forty-five minutes to an hour. This meeting can occur in person, by phone, or via a video-conferencing platform.

Activities

1. Review the STAR stories developed during the Interview Preparation module.
2. Conduct a mock interview.

Required readings or activity sheets

1. Mock Job Interview
2. Interview Evaluation Checklist

Suggested reading materials and resources

1. Nailing the Interview Workshop Presentation (pdf)
2. Mock Job Interview Activity

Mock job interview

INTERVIEW SCENARIO

Mentor, you are meeting for a one-on-one interview with a recent college graduate (mentee) applying for an entry-level position in your company or organization. Please facilitate a mini-mock interview after encouraging your mentee to:

  • Incorporate the STAR stories into their responses
  • Use their company research strategically in their responses
  • Be aware of their body language

SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  • Did you bring a copy of your resume?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What do you know about this company/organization and why do you want to work here?
  • Tell me about a project that you worked on that illustrates your [key strength from Interview Preparation module worksheets].
  • Tell me about a situation when you took on additional responsibilities or a new role.
    What is the most difficult work-related decision that you have had to make? What alternatives did you consider?
  • Describe a situation when it took you multiple attempts to reach a goal.
  • Tell me about ____ position on your resume.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to adapt your working or learning style for a particular situation. How did it go?
  • What is the best team you have worked with and why do you define this as a great team?
  • What questions do you have for me?
Interview Evaluation Checklist

Mentor, please check each statement that describes your Mentee’s performance during the mock interview. Mentor and Mentee may add comments on the lines below. The Mentee did accomplish the following:
____ Show that they’re familiar with the job and the company
____ Present a professional appearance
____ Not chew gum
____ Greet the interviewer by title and name (e.g. Ms. Simpson)
____ Give a firm handshake
____ Make and maintain eye contact
____ Speak clearly, avoiding lots of “ums” and “likes”
____Show enthusiasm for the job and smile
____ Answer all the questions
____ Describe their strengths, skills, and/or achievements
____ Discuss previous experiences as they relate to the job (STAR stories)
____ Ask good questions about the job
____ Say thank you at the end of the interview

Mentor, name one strength the Mentee demonstrated during the mock interview. _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________
Mentor, name one thing your Mentee could improve about their interview. _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________
Mentee, what could you do to improve your interview? _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________

Additional Comments:
_____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________

Part III: Interview Performance

Goal

To enhance your interview performance and demonstrate professionalism.

Objectives

1. To enhance skills and preparation for different types of interviews.
2. To learn how to best use body language for clear and positive non-verbal communication.

Time Commitment

Total Time for this Module
90 minutes to two hours.
Time needed to prepare for team meeting:
Mentee and mentor: 20 to 30 minutes to review the handouts and draft any questions for team discussion.
Time needed for team meeting:
Forty-five minuets to an hour. This meeting can occur in person, by phone, or via a video-conferencing platform.

Required reading and activities

1. The Interview cycle and checklist worksheet.