I’m ready to interview!

Hello and welcome. My name is Jaden and I’m a third-year student here at UMass Lowell. I’m majoring in English with a concentration in Journalism and Professional Writing.

Currently, I’m an intern for the University’s Career & Co-op Center. The center has tons of great career, internship, and co-op resources for students so I will be blogging about my own experiences using those resources!

Recently, I finally figured how to get through job interviews without tripping over my words. I attended a virtual Career Corner workshop hosted by the Career and Co-op Center, and they gave advice on how to answer tricky job interview questions. Interviews of any sort have always intimidated me. Job interviews can be very stressful, especially during a pandemic, so I wanted to share tips about how to answer common interview questions.

To get to the workshop, I had to find the Zoom link on Handshake. The workshop Zoom link was in the event description. I didn’t have to register, I just had to remember to be on time!

During the workshop, the host explained the three types of interview questions: traditional, situational, behavioral, and, when the role calls for it, technical (for example, in computer science.) Traditional questions focus on the candidate’s background and experience. Situational questions determine how applicants would handle a hypothetical situation in the future. Behavioral questions show how a candidate handled a specific real situation in the past. Technical questions are only applicable for certain job positions, but they determine how a candidate would solve a specific technical problem.

The workshop host said students should not deny their weaknesses, frame a weakness as a strength, or reveal a weakness that raises a red flag in an interview. I was surprised when the host said this because I had thought the opposite: that I should frame weaknesses in a positive light. Instead, the host suggested that students use the PARK method when talking about a weakness or problem. P stands for problem, A stands for action, R stands for result, and K stands for knowledge. Students should state their weakness or problem, explain what they did to improve the situation, tell about the results of their action, and say what knowledge they gained from the experience.

This workshop was super helpful for me, and I learned lots of tips I never knew before. I used to feel stressed out by interviews, and I always scrambled to find answers on the spot. Now, I feel more prepared since I know what kinds of questions I will be asked and how to answer them!

From the Career & Co-op Center: Career Corner workshops will resume the first week of spring semester. Visit our website and/or view Candid Career videos for tips on a variety of career development topics. Individual assistance is available between the Fall 2020 and Spring semesters by appointment — schedule a career advising appointment.