Expert shares on-the-spot interview tips

Nine of the 41 companies that will be in attendance at the first ever Randolph County Job Fair will be conducting on-the-spot interviews.

The job fair is being spearheaded by the Randolph County Development Authority, which is joining forces with the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, D&E and The Inter-Mountain to host the event, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 26 in D&E’s McDonnell Center for Health, Physical Education and Athletics.

Lisa Reed, director of career services at Davis & Elkins College, recently provided some pointers for how to wow those businesses who want to narrow down their pool of candidates the day of the fair.

Reed laid out five interview “dos” and just as many interview “don’ts.”

On her list of dos?

  • “Make sure you’re showing confidence, but relax and enjoy your time with the interviewer,” Reed said. “Remember, the employer has to like you to want to hire you.”
  • When answering interviewer inquiries, relate your answers to the job or the needs of the employer.
  • Show how your previous employment experience gives you tools to tackle the duties involved in the job for which you’re applying.

“Use the skills you’ve obtained at previous employment and demonstrate how you can transfer them to the position you are interviewing for,” Reed said. “Show that they’re transferable.”

  • Reed said be ready to respond to situational questions, which she described as new trend in interviewing. Situational questions might begin with, “Tell me about a time when…”

“You want to use some sort of short story based on previous experiences to demonstrate how you solve problems or handle various situations.

  • Don’t say goodbye without snagging a business card and always remember to send a thank-you note or card.

“Thank-you emails are probably less desirable,” Reed said. “A thank-you card increases your odds of getting the job by 20 percent.”

And on the list of what not to do?

  • Don’t share personal information, such as information about your family.
  • Don’t lie.
  • “Don’t bring up money,” Reed said. “The employer does that.”
  • Be friendly, but don’t let your guard down.

“A good interviewer knows how to get you to let your guard down,” Reed said. “They might ask you something like, ‘Tell me about the worst boss you’ve ever had.'”

A good rule of thumb in such situations, Reed said, is to avoid saying anything negative, especially about a previous employer.

  • Be aware of any nervous habits and cut them out before the interview gets underway.

“If you tap your foot, click your pen or crack your knuckles, make sure you don’t do that,” Reed said.