Website schools seniors in 'perfect' interview tactics

On April 5, 2012

This is a crucial time for graduating seniors. With summer quickly approaching, we have finally reached the stage that these soon-to-be graduates will send off the last of their resumes and prepare for interviews with future employers. In a highly competitive working culture, creating a model resume and finishing a strong interview is essential.

This can be taxing, but luckily for seniors and other students and faculty at the University of New Hampshire, there is an online tool that can help just about anyone land a job:

Perfect Interview is an online resource that uses over 2,000 videos, coaching techniques and simulated interviews to train individuals of any age and skill level to walk confidently into an interview knowing how to answer an employer's questions.

Originally used to teach U.S. Army soldiers how to earn a job after serving in the armed forces, Perfect Interview is now used all over the country by various universities, benefitting over 250 schools and two million students.

"What large group of people just entering the job market has the same needs as these people leaving the army?  The answer is obvious: graduating college students," George Langan, CEO of Perfect Interview, said. "They just don't have a tremendous amount of interview experience. You spend all the money going to school, so wouldn't it be nice to get a job and not live in your mother's basement?"

Once an account is created online, which is free for UNH students, faculty and staff, the user can completely customize what kind of interview to train for by choosing the interview length, level of experience, and even what kind of questions to ask. It teaches the user about the absolute essentials of interviewing.

Outside of the program itself, the Perfect Interview website has blog posts that go into more specific details of the interview and resume making process. These range from when to give out Facebook passwords to what an interviewer is actually thinking.

According to Langan, the interview process is the most important aspect of job hunting. If you fail to demonstrate your skills in the interview, you won't get the job.

"You could be the most qualified person in the world, but if you blow the interview a less qualified person is going to get the job," Langan said. "We prepare you for the interview situation."

Despite the importance of interviewing with potential employers, this aspect of the job hunt is what Langan believes hurts new graduates the most. In the end it all comes down to both verbal and non-verbal communication and knowing the audience.  

"Communication skills have gone down," Langan said. "Ninety percent of the time you're going to interview with someone who is old enough to be your parents. Their concept of how you should behave in a job interview is very different than probably what your concept is."

Catherine Blake, a UNH lecturer in marketing, agrees that new graduates are typically unprepared for interviews with employers.

"Interviewing is a lost art," Blake said.

Along with communication and etiquette, Blake believes that one of the biggest mistakes an interviewee can make is not fully educating him or herself about the organization and the interviewer. This includes doing research about the organization and interviewer prior to the actual interview.

According to Blake, personal branding is just as important as interviews in a technologically driven society. Having skills in social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus is crucial in making oneself known in the business world.

Video business cards are another emerging trend. In a 90-second video a potential employee introduces him or herself, the degrees he or she has earned and their strengths in action - similar to what an actual interview would contain.

Perfect Interview has only been partnering with universities and schools for about four years, but has received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from its users.

"The feedback is universally, 'you've prepared me for the kinds of questions I get in a job interview,'" Langan said.

To register with Perfect Interview, go to for a free subscription.

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