Job Hunters update: Tips on interviewing

(April 26, 2013) Armstrong’s new Job Hunters Group series started with a lively seminar for alumni and students on April 23. Led by Catherine Kostilnik ’82 ’89, the session explored new trends in interviewing. Kostilnik, who also serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, is president of the Center for Community Studies, which assists non-profit organizations, school systems, and other governmental entities with applied research, program evaluation, training, fund raising, organizational development, and grant writing. She presents at national conferences, primarily around program evaluation and organizational development.

Attendees also benefited from a presentation by student Calyn Molencamp, who shared her research about how to handle an interview via Skype.

The Job Hunters Group is free and open to all Armstrong alumni and students. All sessions are held 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at Armstrong Center. Upcoming topics include Business and Professional Etiquette on May 7, LinkedIn on May 18, Applying to Federal Jobs on June 4, How Personality Affects Your Search on June 18, and Evaluating Opportunities on July 2. These sessions are led by alumni who are experts on these topics.

To register for an upcoming session, click here.

Here are some of the highlights of Kostilnik’s tips from the first session:

• If asked about salary, answer “I’d like to make as much as possible, but what is the range.”
• Research the company before the interview.
• Get your own business cards.
• Send a simple, classy thank-you within a day or two.
• When asked about your weakness, answer with an opportunity for growth.
• If you don’t have enough professional references, list people who know your character.
• Be able to demonstrate the skills you list on your resume and have samples ready.
• Make sure your appearance and conversation don’t give them a reason not to hire you.
• The interviewer is looking not just for skills, but for whether you fit in with people who are already there.
• Your references need to be able to say you are dependable, skilled, and work well with others.
• Choose references that include a relevant colleague and your most recent past supervisor.
• Even straight out of school you need to find a way to make your experience relevant to the job description.
• The first question will likely be, “tell me about yourself.” Make your answer relevant. Be prepared.
• Show up dressed like the person who owns the company.