Tagged: interview preparation

Top 5 Interview Mistakes: #3 IS A Deal Killer

Here are the top five:

  1. Seeming distracted or disinterested in the interview, the interviewer, or the job
  2. Talking negatively about a past employer (keep negativity OUT of the conversation)
  3. Appearing uninformed about the company or role (do your research)
  4. Not providing specific examples that are relevant to the position
  5. Not asking good questions about exploring the job with them and creating new possibilities together

All of these mistakes come from a lack of preparation, so it’s imperative that

What Are Mistakes Students Make In College Interviews

Tom Stagliano
Tom Stagliano, MIT Volunteer, interviewed freshmen for admissions
There are two basic mistakes made by the students:

First, the Student is supposed to schedule the interview. When the student contacts the interviewer, they have to realize that the interviewer is a volunteer with lots of other commitments. The student should know by the start of senior year in high school which colleges she/he will be applying to and which ones require an interview. They should schedule that interview as early as possible. This past Fall, I conducted four interviews and each applicant contacted me on the last day possible (per the college’s web site). Two for Early Action and two for regular admission.

That will be noted in the interview report. If you can’t budget your schedule well when informed of deadlines at least six weeks in advance, then how can you budget an intensive college life?

Second, the applicant should come to the interview with two purposes in mind:
The ability to tell the interviewer what the applicant does other than study and other than academic subjects. That is what the interview is all about. The interviewer does not care about your grades, nor scores, nor how many AP classes you take. The interviewer wants to know what else you do. Fifty percent of the applicants to most top colleges could do the work and graduate in four years. However, the college can only accept one of every seven of that 50%. Where you distinguish yourself is in that interview.

Have questions to ask. The interviewer is there to answer questions about the college. In my case the interview should be conducted before you finish the online application. You may learn something from the interview that will guide you better in filling out the application.

The applicant’s appearance should be neat and appropriate, like for a job interview. However, a tie is not required for the male applicants.

In my case, it is (roughly) a 90 minute two-way discussion, and you should make the time fly through your conversational abilities.

Relax, and enjoy the interview process. The interviewer loves her/his college and loves to interview otherwise they would not being doing the interviews. Take advantage of that.

NOTE: I give “extra brownie points” to an applicant who has done her/his homework and looked up information on me, and works that into the interview. It shows initiative. After all, I was an undergraduate at that college and many of my avocations were cultivated there.

If you contact me I’ll give you my interview prep guide.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679


Ace Your Interview By Being Memorable

If you’re prepping for a college interview, you want to distinguish yourself from the thousand of other applicants.

When the interview is for a job,  you want to show that you are The One they have been waiting for.

Here are a few tips on making yourself memorable.



You don’t have to be the most qualified: Its better to be the most prepared. Research the college, google the admissions rep you’ll be talking to, make a list of a few things about yourself you want to bring up (especially details not on your college application), have questions ready.

Job hunters’ talking points will be different from college applicants, but it is the same procedure.

Make the interview a conversation, not an interrogation.  You’ve created a list of questions, yes?  Insert them into your answer like this.   “Over the last 2 years I’ve lead my team to become the group with the quickest turn around due to good communications and mutual support.   How are teams in this company formed?”   College questions could sound this way: ” I love playing soccer although I’m not the star of the varsity squad. I’d like to learn to play lacrosse; how can I do that at XYZ University?”

Many career coaches recommend finding something to “brand” yourself.  Women, wear a distinctive piece of jewelry; guys, wear a distinctive tie; carry a nice briefcase or portfolio, handbag or other accessory.  Perhaps you have a favorite color, say turquoise.  Choose an understated accessory in that color and wear it proudly. Wear your Mickey Mouse watch or other piece that has a story attached to get the conversation rolling.

All interviewees need to dress appropriately.  No skin tight or very short skirts.  Ladies, please wear 2-3 inch heels, no higher: you won’t make a good impression falling on your face on the uneven floor boards in old buildings.  Guys, wear a sport jacket and collared shirt or shirt and tie.

Put together a statement highlighting the ways you meet or exceed the requirements of the role.  It will be an elevator pitch for this role at this company, not the more generalized one you use when introducing yourself to others.  You can include it in the resume (perhaps revised resume) that you hand carry to the job interview, email it before or during a phone interview, or include it in your thank you note.

College bound students should summarize their connections to this college with the number of times visited, ways in which they “follow” the college or additional connections.  Then include specific examples of what makes the college special to them.  Show your fit with the college through how much you know about it.  Including this statement in your thank you note is a good way to illustrate your commitment.

Last, and perhaps most important, is the hand written thank you note.  Delivery by snail mail, your note will be a reminder a few days after the interview of who you are.  Mentioning your fit with college or company brings to mind your stand out qualities.

Its not too early to practice interview skills when applying to college and its not too late to prepare for your job or internship interviews if you are beyond college applications.  The time is always just right if you’re ready to begin.

I’m happy to help you practice for interviews.  Thorough preparation adds to your confidence and assurance translates into competence.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679



5 Questions You Need To Ask To Ace An Interview

exchange-of-ideas-222787_640It goes without saying that your interview prep is heavy on research into the company and the industry to which you are applying. Before you enter the interview room you should know how the job integrates into the company’s hierarchy and strategy. In the bigger picture, you need to understand where the company fits within the industry.

Interviewers expect candidates ask useful and insightful questions as a follow up to answering questions. When the interviewer pauses, its time to ask more pointed questions about the job.

1. How does this role ( or how will I) impact the performance of the company (or department)?  The answer to this question will give you insight into the integration of the position in the company.

2. What are your priorities for the first 90 after your new hire comes on board?  Knowing this will help you craft answers to the interviewer’s questions that allow you to demonstrate how well your experience helps the company meet objectives.

3. How will my success be measured?  The question asks for benchmarks and describes the company culture.

4. Tell me about your history with the company? Why do you choose to work here?  Candidates learn insider information about the strengths of the company and personal information about at least one employee.

5. Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?  The answer offers you another opportunity to clarify and reiterate you qualifications.

job-interview883879_640-1As always, you want to end by asking “What is the next step in the hiring process and  when will that take place?”  You need to know how and when you will be contacted to move forward.

A good interview is a conversation in which you show your qualifications for the job, your knowledge about the company and your commitment to helping the company reach its goals.

Want help prepping for an interview? 610-212-6679 or stephanie@accessguidance.com