Effective Interviewing Guide

Analyze the job qualifications

The first step prior to the interview is to analyze the job qualifications and develop accomplishment stories from your background to show how you fit. Use the job description and contacts such as GSM alums to gather information on the position. To show how your background fits:

  • Identify corresponding work experience, projects, or classes that demonstrates the required skill.
  • Use accomplishment statements to express the experience in positive, concise and results-oriented terms.
  • If you cannot locate a specific position description prior to the interview, identify more general skills and qualifications and present your background in those terms.
  • If you don’t have a position description, early in the interview, ask the interviewer, “What qualifications are you looking for in this position?” Then present appropriate examples from your background.

Preparing Accomplishments for Interviews

An accomplishment is a concise statement outlining how you have utilized you solved a problem to accomplish a positive result. Use the following criteria to brainstorm for situations where you demonstrated accomplishments:

  • Your performance exceeded past performance
  • Equal results were achieved with fewer resources
  • Potential problem issues were resolved with little or no increase in time or money
  • Saved or made money for the organization
  • Something new was achieved for the first time
  • Things were made easier, simpler or were done more quickly
  • Added new systems/methods which improved service/product quality

Use this three step process for writing accomplishments*:

  1. Identify the problem, situation/task or challenge you were confronted with.
  2. Outline the main action you took to solve the problem/meet the challenge.
  3. Determine the positive benefit you realize and express the results in quantifiable terms whenever possible.

*Keep the STAR acronym in mind (Situation/Task-Action-Result)

Compose a wide variety of accomplishment statements to handle your interviewer’s questions.

Mock Interviews with Executives

One of the most effective ways the GSM helps students to prepare for interviewing is through our Mock Interview Program.

To enhance preparation for the job market, the School requires that all students participate in a videotaped mock interview with one of many volunteer executives from both the public and private sectors. This program gives students a unique chance to meet top executives in a one-on-one situation, as well as dramatically improve their interview skills.

Research the company

In addition to analyzing the job qualifications, make sure you have researched the company beyond the annual report and recruiting literature. Try these resources for company research:

  • Company’s Web site
  • Wet Feet Press – – Produces high quality research reports specifically for MBAs on high-tech, consulting and finance firms.
  • Edgar – – The Securities and Exchange Commission’s database which includes SEC filings by any publicly traded company.
  • WSJ Online, Briefing Books – Background information, financial and stock performance data, recent news and press releases.
  • GSM Internet Guide to Career Research

Preparing questions

For each interview you should prepare a series of questions to demonstrate your interest, enthusiasm and knowledge of the company. Here are some tips in preparing your questions:

  • Be sensitive to time pressures by focusing on only the most relevant questions in the first interview.
  • Begin your questioning in the first half of the interview.
  • Questions should be sincere (not staged)
  • Show that you have investigated the company and job.
  • Don’t ask questions easily answered in the job description or corporate literature.
  • The more specific your questions, the better.
  • If interviewing with a functional manager, explore his/her career path.
  • Stay away form salary, benefits, vacations, etc.
  • Query about recent news items, stock performance, etc.
  • Establish the next step in the recruiting process.

Sample Questions for You to Ask

  • I read in the Wall Street Journal that your company was…How will this effect …?
  • Where did the person who most recently held this position go?
  • What are some objectives you would like accomplished by the new person in this job? What is most pressing?
  • What are some of your longer-term objectives?
  • What freedom would I have in determining my work objectives, deadlines, and methods of measurement?
  • What kind of support does this position receive in terms of people and finances?
  • What are some of the more difficult problems facing someone in this position? How do you think these could best be handled? Where could a person go who is successful in this position and within what time frame?
  • Where do you see the company (or function) going in the next few years?
  • How is one judged? What accounts for success?
  • You’ve achieved a great deal in this organization. What is your background? What was your career path? What do you find the greatest advantages of working for the organization? How would you describe you own management style?
  • How do you win support from top management?
  • What are the most important traits you look for in a subordinate?
  • How do you like your people to communicate with you? (Orally, in writing, informally, in meetings, only when necessary?)