I learned that Google thinks it’s perfectly fine to wear jeans and t-shirts to interviews for positions in the company. The company culture dictates that you should be relaxed and your attire should reflect your personal level of comfort. This is contrary to what I thought I knew about appropriate dress for an interview. This essentially means a student in a suit may be have been perceived as inappropriately dressed when interviewing with Google. Yet I know of student who interviewed for Google in a suit and was extended an offer for a summer internship. He told me that he was instructed to dress in attire that he felt comfortable. The position for which he interviewed was in business to business sales.
While a conservative (not black) suit is considered ideal, companies such as Google remind us that a suit is not the only option. It is crucial that you research the companies in which you have an interest. Learn as much as you can about the company culture BEFORE you interview, because you don’t want to make the mistake of wearing a suit when jeans and a t-shirt will be just fine.
Be an Interview Star
How many times have you been on an interview and an employer has asked you a question that begins with something like “Give me an example when you had a difficult time with a customer how did you manage it?” Or maybe the question sounded something like “Describe a time when you applied effective time management.” These questions are behavioral based and the premise is that if you can provide concrete specific examples of how you addressed past challenges that will give employers some insight on your performance in the future. The key to a successful response is to use S.T.A.R. This stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.
- Situation- Describe the Situation.
- Task- What problem did you face?
- Action- How did you address the problem? .
- Result- What was the result of your action? .
Responders tend to be very vague however interviewers want something specific.
Take a look at the responses in bold below to a question about dealing with difficult customers:
SITUATION – What problem did you face?- As a server in a restaurant I had an issue with a customer who came in an ordered a meal .
TASK- What problem did you face?- When I brought the meal out it was not prepared according to her specifications. The customer was irrate and she began to state that she would never return to the restaurant. I sent it back to the kitchen and her meal was incorrectly prepared a second time. The customer was very upset. I did my best to calm her down and apologized for the mistake. I offered to try once more but she declined and agreed to eat the meal.
ACTION- How did you address the problem? I realized the customer was upset and that the error was our fault so I asked my manager if I could provide her with a gift card to apologizee for our error and to encourage her to return to the restaurant. My manager agreed so I presented her with the gift card.
RESULT – What was the result of your action? The customer returned at another time and she actually requested me to be her server. She apologized for her past behavior stating that she was having a bad day at the time of her last visit. I took special care during her second visit to ensure that we got her order perfect and it was. She also used her gift card to pay for her meal.
So next time you are asked for an example or to describe a stituation when something happened remember to use the STAR techique to answer the questions. What are some common behavioral-based interview questions that you’ve encountered? Please share so that we can discuss the a great response.
Show up to your scheduled interview
If you have an interview be sure to show up. Unless there is a life or death emergency there is no reason for you not to agree to honor your word and meet with your interviewer. As you embark upon your professional career all of your interactions contribute to the creation of your personal brand and reputation. Be careful to do what it is you say you are going to do. When you fail to honor your agreement to participate in an on-campus interview you waste the interviewer’s time, damage the reputation of your school and prevent a fellow student in your school from interviewing for the same opportunity. Most schools will have a policy that will allow you to withdraw your appointment as late 48 hours before the schedule interview as this will allow sufficient time for another student to fill the newly open slot. Even if you change your mind about the job you should go to the interview if it is beyond the withdrawal deadline. This will demonstrate that you are a professional who honors their word. You never know, during the interview you may learn something new.
You are on fire!
Do you realize that when you have an offer from another company it is usually a good idea to let companies with which you are interviewing know? Many times students are reluctant to share the fact that they have outstanding offers with other organizations when they should be very open with this information. A recruiter who is aware that other companies have you on their radar may be prompted to alert respective hiring managers to expedite various stages of the on-campus recruiting process. As a result of you divulging that you have an offer with another company a recruiter may be able to give you an update on the status of your candidacy much sooner or move your interview date up.
For instance you be able to say ” I know that I don’t have second round interviews schedule for at least another two weeks, however I just received an offer and the decision is due on the same day as my second round interviews with you. Of course I’d like to be considered for an opportunity with your company, however is there any way that we can move up the date for my second round interviews?” Most recruiters want to be aware of the other organizations that have an interest in you as this will help them strategize their recruitment efforts. It’s also a great tool for you as it demonstrates that you are a highly desirable candidate. Be open with your recruiters, just as you want to work for the best company they want to hire the best candidates. What better way than to share you are being wooed by other companies to demonstrate to good you are?