Every month we are going to be interviewing everyday people about their job interview experiences. We will interview college graduates, HR managers, recruiters and more.
Today we interview Miranda, an international student and a senior at Penn State University.
Hi Miranda. Thanks for taking time out of your day to interview with us.
If it is okay with you, let’s just get started. How would you describe your educational background?
I am a rising senior at Penn State majoring in Supply Chain and Information Systems.
When do you graduate?
What are you planning to do after you graduate?
I don’t really have a clear picture yet. I am trying to pursue a career in non-profit organizations. However, I might have to take whatever offer I can get given the current job market.
Have you been to a job interview before? If so, how many?
I have been about six interviews this year.
Thinking about your last interview, how would you describe your experience?
I thought it was an overall positive experience. I thought I performed well and gave the potential employer a good chance to learn more about me. I also took the opportunity to learn more about the job to see if it’s aligned with my own career goals.
Is English your first language?
No. I speak Cantonese and Mandarin and have been learning Japanese and German.
Have you come across any difficulties in interviews as a result of your cultural background?
No, not really. It’s actually an advantage. Many employers are interested in my personal experience. I think having grown up in different culture gives me a chance to leverage my character. It helps to impress employers.
What are your greatest job interview strengths?
I must say wittiness. It’s hard to come up with answers sometimes. There are always interview questions that you wouldn’t have expected. Good sense of humor can eliminate the awkwardness caused by your pauses and earn yourself a bit more time to come up with a good answer.
What are your job interview weaknesses?
I tend to talk too much. I realize that interviewers prefer bullet points, but I sometimes give them paragraphs. I am still learning to be precise.
If you could know one thing before you went to an interview, what would it be?
If I can find out about one thing before I walk into an interview, it will definitely be the interviewer’s favorite color. I will then dress in that color. I believe that first impression accounts for quite a big part of the score.
What would you like to know about job interviews, including questions, behaviors, etc., that would help you succeed in your next interview?
I would like to know what’s the right way to answer questions that are related to the negatives; for example, questions that ask me to describe my weaknesses or a time when I disappoint a customer or supervisor. I find it a very uncomfortable situation when I have to talk about things that may cause my potential employers to think negatively about me.
Thanks. One final question. If you could give advice to graduates and soon to be graduates about job interviews, what would it be?
Don’t over think and just be your natural self.
Thanks Miranda for your interview tips and your time. Good luck with all your exams this semester.