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Interviewing Quick Tips with ABSA and Ascend



On October 19th, ABSA teamed up with Ascend to host a Mock Interview Workshop. Employers from EY, PwC, Protiviti, Mercer, Russell Investments, C+C, and PepsiCo came to connect with students, practice interview questions, and provide professional feedback. While the event is over, one of our guests––Max Powers of KPMG––gave some general pointers on strengthening your interviewing skills, especially in an online setting!


Here are his tips:


1. Come prepared

  • Plan: Interviewing is all about getting to know you at a deeper level. Plan how you are going to tell your story and who you are. This applies to knowing how to walk through your resume.

  • Research: Look into the company and the role you are interviewing for, as well as future initiatives the company has.

  • Extra preparations: Use what is available to you! Look into employer websites, th department career center, and reach out to current employees to get further insight on how to approach your interview.

  • If you are interviewing online, test technology prior to the interview.


2. Understand the basic questions


Know how to answer the basics!


The Why’s

  • Why work here?

  • Why this role?

  • Why hire you?

The Tell me’s

  • Tell me about yourself?

  • Tell me about a time (when you struggled, when you succeeded, when you worked with a team)?

Remember: interviews aren’t solely about advertising yourself–– a huge thing is conversational skills. Focus more on developing an engaging conversation with your interviewer over showing off your greatest accomplishments (don’t flex too hard!)


The What’s

  • What are your passions?

  • What are your weaknesses?

Remember: when it comes to describing weaknesses, don’t try and spin it into a humble brag (ex. “I’m too detail-oriented, I’m too hardworking”). You need to be able to identify and acknowledge weaknesses. What would [someone] say about you?


Using the STAR Method


STAR (situation, task, action, result) is a great framework in forming succinct answers during your interview.

  • Situation: use suitable examples, give context so the interviewer can understand the situation you are describing

  • Task: clearly describe what task you did in this situation

  • Action: actions to accomplish the task

  • Result: share the ending of your situation and what happened after you took action


3. Ending the interview

  • Whenever the interviewer asks if you have any questions, never say no!

  • Don’t ask filler questions like…

  • What’s your favorite thing about the company?

  • Don’t make the questions too open, instead…

  • Use this as an opportunity to show the employer you’ve done your research

  • Ask about something you found in your research or something that interested you during the interview itself


We hope you found these tips helpful - we will come back with another helpful posts!

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