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Need advice about a job interview

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I just graduated from college with my Bachelors in Computer Information Systems a little over a month ago. Two weeks after I graduated, I noticed a job posting for an Administrative Specialist position with my alma mater's Anesthesia department. I applied because they were looking for someone who had both administrative and technical experience (I previously worked at my school's IT Help Desk part-time, so I knew a lot about how the university worked in terms of IT, and gained some technical experience as well) and because the job pays pretty well. Of course, there are some things in the job posting that I don't have as much experience with, but all of the required and even highly desired qualifications match my experience/education perfectly.


Well, within a week of applying, they called me about setting up an interview. It seems they are interviewing candidates on Wednesday, and based on my math in terms of the fact that they'll be spending an hour with each candidate, I am one of between 4-7 candidates. From my research, one of the people I will be interviewing with is actually the person who previously held this position (and has since been promoted, I am guessing). I'm not sure how many others I'll be interviewing with, though, which is a little nerve wracking.


I haven't been on many interviews, and this is the first since I graduated. The last interview I had was last July, and it was for a full-time position with a non-profit. I'm pretty sure I blew that interview, but that was OK because I did not want the position after hearing how little they'd be paying. I'm really shy around new people, so you can imagine how nervous I am about this and that's why I'm looking for advice.


What can I do to compensate for the fact that I have much more technical than administrative experience?

They state that they are looking for someone who is experienced in social networking (which I am). Is it wise to spend time thinking of ways to perhaps better promote the department via social networking in case they ask?

What are good questions to ask when they ask "do you have any questions?" I always draw a blank and I think it comes accross as a lack of interest on my part.

Would it be OK to wear black dress pants and a nice long sleeve button dress shirt? Or should I have a complete pant suit? (I'm a female, btw)

How early should I arrive?



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On the admin side of things they may ask you more behavioral than technical questions. I know when I interviewed for a scientific admin job last year I got such questions as "How do you keep yourself organized/set priorities?" "How do you deal with difficult situations/clients?" "What would you say is your best attribute? Worst attribute? What would your former coworkers/colleagues say is your best and worst attribute?" and the one that really caught me off guard, "How do you deal with workplace gossip? Does it bother you?" Google "behavioral interview questions" and you will find a ton of websites that could be helpful. Try to find a friend to practice with too.


As for arriving, get there I'd say no sooner than 15 minutes before--you don't want to wait too long but at the same time have a few moments to gather yourself.


I also think a blazer would be good to go over your shirt. Any coordinating color should be ok.


As for further questions I've always asked things like how supportive the company is about professional development, if you need a certification how the company goes about helping you get that, if you envision yourself going back to school do they provide tuition support, and I also like to ask what are the qualities of the people who have succeeded in the job you are applying for.

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Pant suit.


Arrive 15 minutes early.


Definitely talk about how you would market the department via social networking. Excellent. And I wouldn't have that prepared just in case they ask you - I would offer up your ideas. Shows you've really put some thought to the position, and also helps to psychologically have the interviewer imagine you IN the position already.


As for questions, do some research. I would ask timely questions - like, if there were any recent mergers/acquisitions/discoveries/papers/inventions, etc. that you can comment on and ask a follow-up question to.


Good luck.

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When answering behavioral questions or competency based questions try to format your answers as follows:


Situation, describe the situation


Task or Target, what was the goal or objective


Action, what you did,


Result – What happened using specifics and measurements


Try not to babble; take a moment, think about the question take a breath and go. If unsure about whats being asked sometimes it helps to ask them to repeat the question or put it into context. Be clear and concise with your answer, if you are using an actual example from past experience this will usually result in a confident answer.


Oh and don't fidget, scratch etc. Place your palms face down on your legs, this will help you maintain your posture and prevent you from slouching if you're in a comfy seat.

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Thanks guys! I ended up wearing a black pant suit with a light pink shirt underneath. I had the interview today and was thrown off by the fact that they wanted me to first answer a couple of essay questions (which I think I did good on because essays have always been a strong suit of mine). They then asked me a bunch of questions both relating to the job and to my resume, all of which I answered pretty well. I asked them a few questions: what would a typical day entail? What is the biggest quality you are looking for in filling this position? Where would I be working if I were offered this position? (it was a little confusing as it is off campus).


Do you think these were adequate questions? In two of my past interviews, I asked no questions and I think that did me in. I shook hands with all four people interviewing me before and after the interview (and thanked them). The interview took about 40 minutes (10 of which were spent on the essay questions). That's a little less than the hour they said it might take, but they also said it might be a little less. They seemed to be impressed with my technical knowledge. However, I was not asked when I could start, nor did they mention when they'd contact people. Is that unusual? Good sign? Bad sign? I left feeling that I could do the job and would enjoy it, but would not be devastated if I didn't get it.

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