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Career Corner

Current Career Topics for Mount St. Mary's University Students

Keyword: interview questions

As college students begin applying for internships and college graduates begin applying for full-time jobs, an important thing for both groups to consider is the future. You need to consider how every experience, whether it is an internship or a job, affects your future plans and goals. Employers are also very interested in your future goals, which is why a very common question for employers to ask in an interview is "Where do you see yourself in five years?" The whole purpose of this question is to show employers that you are focused on the future, so keep reading to learn how you can prepare!

Whenever you are asked this question, it is very important to demonstrate how the position for which you are interviewing fits into both your short and long-term goals. Be ready to explain how you hope to progress within the company in the future. However, even though this question requires you to clearly explain your future plans, it is just as important to be practical and realistic about those goals. Before the interview, be sure to research the structure of the organization itself in order to identify where and how entry-level employees progress. If you have a contact within the company you are applying to, respectfully ask them about this and other topics in order to get a sense of the overall structure of the organization. Remember that it is always better to have more background information on an organization than less when applying for an internship or job.

When answering this question, a common response from recent college graduates involves graduate school. Although this is obviously such a great path to follow after graduation, you may not want to immediately tell your employer of these plans during an interview. Oftentimes, a company or organization has a program that supports young professionals in achieving their master's degree, but educational benefits are typically discussed after an offer of employment has been made. So before you share your graduate school plans, be sure to research if the employer supports further education.

If you have any questions concerning any of this information, contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202, Career-Center@msmary.edu or simply stop by the Career Center to make an appointment. The Career Center offers interviewing tips and mock-interview sessions to help students be as prepared as possible for the interviewing process, so be sure to take advantage of this great resource.

No matter what company or organization you apply to, there will undoubtedly be some kind of competition among applicants for the job. That is why during any interview, employers will most likely ask you the following questions: "Why are you interested in this organization?" or "Why are you interested in this job?" By preparing an answer to this question before the interview, you will stand out among the other candidates, so keep reading to learn how to perfect an answer to this question!

There is a very simple rule to follow when answering this question in an interview: ALWAYS have an answer to this question! Whether you are applying for an entry level position or a position at your dream job, you should always have a well prepared response to convince the employer to hire you. Employers receive numerous applications every day for various positions within their company or organization, so they are looking for the applicants that went above and beyond in their preparation for the interview. They are looking for individuals who really want to work at their company and who show a sincere interest in helping the company or organization fulfill their purpose.

So when you are answering this question, be sure to share an informed interest and passion in their mission. But in order to do so, you will have to complete some research before the interview. Some helpful things to look for are the organization's mission, products, size, reputation and history. Most of these elements can be found on the organization's website, and be sure to research if the company has been in the news recently. However, it is not enough to show the interviewer that you have completed some research before the interview. You should also include in your answer an explanation of how you can make a contribution to the company's goals. Talk about their needs and how you can fulfill those needs. Be confident in your skills that you will be able to benefit the company or organization.

If you have any questions concerning any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202, Career-Center@msmary.edu or simply stop by the Career Center to make an appointment. The Career Center offers interviewing tips and mock interview sessions to help students be as prepared as possible for the interviewing process, so be sure to take advantage of this great resource. And to learn how to answer more of these common interview questions, check out the Career Corner Blog on the Career Center's website.

            As we continue our series on the top five most common interview questions, the second question is one that you will undoubtedly be asked in ANY interview: “Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.”  Although this question may seem straightforward, it is important to prepare a well-thought out answer to this question, and here are some tips to provide an answer that will make you stand out as a candidate to the interviewer. 

            When answering this question, you should always start with your strengths to give a positive first impression.  But when you do list your strengths, it is important to relate your skills to the position that you are currently applying for.  Provide specific examples of how you have used your strengths in a school, work, or even a social setting.  Examples provide evidence that you really do have the Strengths_weaknessesexperience necessary to succeed in the position you are applying for, so you should always have a variety of examples prepared to back up your claims.  Some personal characteristics that interviewers usually look for are: loyalty, a strong work ethic, and good interpersonal and communication skills.  Typically for this answer, you should really only give your top 3 or 4 strengths so that you do not completely overwhelm the interviewer, but make sure that your strengths will make you stand out from the crowd!

             The much harder part of this question involves sharing your weaknesses with the employer.  As humans, we all have faults and weaknesses, but the trick is to present those weaknesses in the most positive light possible during an interview.  You should give 1-2 weaknesses that do not directly disqualify you from receiving the position.  By asking this question, employers are looking to see if you are self-aware and are taking steps to better yourself.  So when concluding this part of the question, it is important to put a positive spin on your weaknesses by mentioning that you are working to overcome them. 

             If you have any questions concerning any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202, Career-Center@msmary.edu or simply stop by the Career Center to make an appointment.  The Career Center offers interviewing tips and mock-interview sessions to help students be as prepared as possible for the interviewing process, so be sure to take advantage of this great resource!

 
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