I know a lot of people going through the interview process right now and with graduation right around the corner even more people will be getting prepared for interviews. With that in mind I thought I’d write a mock interview as an example of some questions you may be asked and how to answer them. I’ve always wanted to work with Disney Pixar, so for the purpose of this mock interview let’s say I’m applying for a coordinating position with them.
Interviewer: Tell me a little about yourself.
Katie: I’m a production assistant for production management at Sesame Workshop where I help with recording time sheets, submitting invoices, PA-ing on sets and any other production needs. In college I was the Concert Head where I put on the first back to back concerts at our school, with a $100,000 budget. I have a big passion for both the film industry and concert world. I like working with a group of minds to collaborate and create a variety of different visions into reality.
Be prepared to respond to this question with a concise response that also gives concrete examples of your experience and best qualities. This will be their first impression of you so it is important to have the right balance humility and confidence. It’s all in the word choice.
I: What interests you about this position?
Katie: I have always had a dream to work with Disney Pixar. I love the company culture and environment that allows for creative minds to grow. Every single Pixar movie I have seen has inspired me in some way. Most recently I feel in love with La Luna. I want to be a part of a company that inspires and impacts children’s eyes at such a young age. I want them to be wide eyed like the young boy from La Luna. I think everyone should be inspired by life and I believe this company feels the same way.
I’m ready to move on to the next step. I’ve worked hard as a Production Assistant and Sesame Workshop taught me a lot. I’m ready for a new challenge.
I really do love Pixar so I may have spent more time talking about that aspect of it because if I really were applying for a position with Pixar my excitement and passion would not be held back. Showing your passion for the company or position is a genuine quality the interviewer wants. They want to hire someone who will fit in with their company culture and someone who will come to work with a smile every day.
I: Where do you see yourself in 5 year?
K: In 5 years I’ll be turning 29 so I would hope that I would have started a family and held a steady position either as something in production management or as in a position leading towards assistant directing.
I like to answer the question with a short truthful answer that shows I am more than just a worker, I have caring human qualities and wants beyond work. As long as you answer it truthful, you should be good. If this is a job that will get you closer to where you want to be in 5 years, even better.
I: How would someone else describe you?
K: If someone else were to describe me I think, and hope, they would say I’m a driven, dedicated young professional who puts her full effort into every job she is presented with. She’s always willing to help and is a pleasure to work with.
Preparing for this question is a good time to think about the image you set for yourself. Think about how people really do view you. Take your best qualities and express them here.
I: What is your biggest weakness?
K: They say your biggest strength is also your biggest weakness. I fully believe this because I think my biggest weakness is caring too much. I’m always thinking about others, how they’re feeling, what else they need help with. I need to actively watch myself to make sure I take time for myself and carry a healthy work load.
This is such a tricky question! It feels like a trap if you’re not prepared for it. The best advice I can give is to state a weakness you are aware of and can control. In other words, don’t say you’re a compulsive liar who hates working… or something extremely obvious is not good like that.
I: Why did you leave you last job?
K: I left my last job because I moved to California to seek new opportunities with features, where as in New York most of my options were mostly in television.
(Or why are you thinking about leaving your current job?)
K: I’m looking to pursue the next step in my career to continue to move towards my goal of being a producer or assistant director.
I’m giving you to variations here because there are numerous reasons as to why you may be looking for a new job. It might be a logistical reason, like moving, or it could be a personal reason, like career advancement or pursuing a passion. It may repeat or sound similar to a reason why you are interested in the position, but that could just reaffirm your reason for applying.
I: Tell me about your experience at insert past job here . (I’m choosing Sesame Workshop.)
K: I’m so grateful for my time at Sesame Workshop. It was my first exposure to a television studio and work flow. I was given the opportunity to work with crew and talent. My specific duties were collecting and recording digital freelancers’ time sheets; kept track of my own petty cash of $800, and booked meetings, hotels, travels and conferences. In addition to my personal tasks I worked with any production needs from script distributions, runs, meal planning to the unexpected.
This is a pretty easy question. Just tell them what you did, what you were responsible for, and anything else you did to help or learned a skill from.
I: Tell me about a time when fill in situation relevant to position here .
Someone one asked me how I dealt with working with friends, so I will use that as an example here.
K: When I was Concert Head my senior year at Fitchburg State I had the challenge of managing a group of my peers and balancing friendships. I had to keep business and friendships separate. I did this by treating everyone the same. Everyone was encouraged to approach me with any questions about the task at hand or with any problems they had with my leadership. I was open to hearing any feedback, positive or negative. I made an effort to have dedicated time at the beginning or ending of each meeting to open the floor to anyone. I learned quickly to explain things fully, set clear expectations and deadlines. Clearly setting my expectations so everyone knew where everyone stood. When there was a quarrel I took advantage of having our adviser to have an unbiased point of view help us solve our problems.
With a question like this it is important to use an example. A story will illustrate how you work and stay in the interviewers mind.
I: What questions do you have for me?
This will most likely be the last question of every interview. I’m preparing another post with a list of questions you could ask, so stay tuned!
Do you have any additional interview questions to add? What was the hardest interview question you had to answer?
For more information on interviewing please go to my Interviewing Page here.