Assignment instructions

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Assignment Instructions

Blog Posts - Original Posts & Substantive Replies

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  1. Each week, you MUST blog about your experience of the interview process. (This is MANDATORY).
  2. The blog posts will help prepare you to write the Final Paper
  3. There are no grades for each blog post.
  4. They MUST be 250 words with substantive information / content AND substantive replies to at least two (2) of your peers (75 words for each person).


  • Posts that are less than 250 words are NOT considered "complete", and will forfeit credit for the week's post - and lose 10 points off your Grade for the Final Paper.
  • Contributors who do not respond substantively to at least two peers - will forfeit credit for the week's post - and lose 10 points off your Grade for the Final Paper.
  • Substantive replies are NOT required for the last (Week 5) blog post.

BLOG POSTS DUE: Wednesdays by 11:59 pm

  • You are required to reply substantively (75 words per person) to blog posts of your peers and colleagues - and continue the discussion thread / conversation as appropriate. Feel free to share your thoughts and advice.

REPLIES DUE: Fridays by 11:59 pm

  • Be aware of:
    • Timeliness
    • Connection / Alignment to Week's Theme
    • Focus on what you Learned
    • A SMART Goal for What You Are Going To Do Differently
    • Writing / Presentation Quality

Blog Posts - Themes

Week 1: Introduce Yourself: Your Name, Major / Field of Study, and the Types of Jobs / Companies you are looking to work for

Week 2: Three (3) CAR Stories from Your Work Experience (Aligned to the desired Job Description / Ad)

  1. CAR Story 1
  2. CAR Story 2
  3. CAR Story 3

Week 3: Identify and Research Employers of Interest

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Tip: This blog post requires that you actually do research - and you can do this at the Library, on the company website, news releases, LinkedIN, etc. Also, this is where networking and information interviews are very helpful - as they help you to connect the dots with hard to find, but important information.

Questions to Ask / Find the Information You Need

  • What is the Job / Role? What are you going to do?
  • What is the Organization? What do they do? What industry are they in?
  • What is their Business?
    • Who are their customers, markets, competitors
    • Are they making money? Losing money?
    • Are they in a regulated industry (i.e., energy, utilities, transportation);
    • Are they unionized?
    • What Problems / Challenges are they facing ("Pain)
  • Who is the Hiring Manager / Decision-Maker; Team Members - what are their backgrounds - what do they do, where have they worked before?
  • What is the culture of the organization like (you get this from networking / information interview)
    • Do people like to work there? Why/Why not? What is the average length of time that people stay in the organization?

Week 4: Information & Mock Interviews

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Tip: The blog posting for this week involves sharing the information you learned regarding setting up, conducting, assessing / evaluating Information Interviews and Mock Interviews - and what you will do differently as a result of what you observed or learned.

Week 5: Course Learnings & Takeaways

  1. What did I learn? How has this affected my understanding of the job search / interviewing process - from the perspective of employee and employer (hiring manager).
  2. What will I do differently? How Will I Handle Challenging Situations? How will I demonstrate this learning (i.e., experiment, put it into practice?)
  3. What are the Top 3 Actions that I will take to learn more / achieve my goals? Make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-based).

Video Interviews (Upload to YouTube)

Planning Ahead for the Video Interviews

As per the Syllabus - the 1st weekly assignment is due soon  - the video interview of "Tell Me About Yourself".

See the Instructions -

You will need to plan ahead to make sure you have the appropriate clothing and the person asking you the behavioral questions (for Video Interview II - at the end of the course).

Dress Up - Wear Professional Attire

Going on an interview, whether on video or in-person requires professional attire.l - and these days, even if you are a computer programmer - you need to dress smartly for the interview process. You don't have to go out and spend $1,000 and high end tailoring - even if you go to a 2nd hand shop, you can get a shirt / slacks cleaned, and you will look snazzy. Dress to impress!

  • Men - a buttoned-down dress shirt (ironed / pressed) and a tie, and a blazer / jacket if you have one. Make sure you wear pants / slacks too - fully clothed (because you might have to get up unexpectedly - and you don't want to have interviewers see you in your underwear!). Avoid black shirts - white or blue is best.
  • Women - a blouse or button-downed shirt (not sleeveless), ironed / pressed and buttoned up (no plunging necklines) and a blazer / jacket. f you must wear an open blouse / shirt, do so under a blazer / jacket, and make sure that only one button is open - so the look is clean and conservative.
  • For Everyone - NO hats, NO wild colors, stripes, images or patterns - make sure what you wear is flattering and NOT distracting.
  • About Ties - they must be fully-tied - all the way to the neck. (Employers don't like the 'boy-band' look.) No loose / open shirts and the tie dangling below. This looks sloppy, unkempt and ultimately disrespectful to the employer. The tie must be affixed firmly to the shirt collar / your neck.

Once you get the job, then you can dress more casually. For interviews, the look is clean, polished and conservative.If you decide to be a 'free spirit', and wear 'whatever', then your employer will interpret this as rebellious, and a lack of discipline / following the rules, and not a team player - regardless of your answers to behavioral questions in the interview.

(Comment.gif: You do NOT have to buy any clothing for this class. If you have any concerns, please write / see me directly.)

Find an Interview Partner Who Will Ask You the Behavior Interview Questions

Finding someone at the last minute, is always a challenge - so, avoid that problem by asking someone ahead of time; confirming the day, time and place with them - and making sure to explain the process and your expectations of them.

The person will be required to ask you the behavioral interview questions, beginning with "Tell Me About Yourself". If you are not satisfied with your answer (i.e., the content or how you answered), you may want to do it again with them. So, ask for 1 hour of their time - and it will probably be less time. If you don't ask for enough time, then you will feel pressure to do the interview and this will affect your answers and performance.

Make sure to find the appropriate environment to conduct the interview - i.e., where you will sit, the lighting, the furniture and the recording means (i.e., computer / camera / smartphone). It is OK to hear the interviewer's voice on the video.

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Tip: Practice makes perfect - so practice your answers and tone and posture BEFORE doing it LIVE with your interviewer.

Practice, Practice, Practice; Use Bullet Points to Jog Your Memory; Dry Runs (4)

  • Practice makes perfect, and dry runs give you an opportunity to practice.
  • Be careful about memorizing a script - the candidate (you!) can come across as monotone (i.e., no variation in tone) - as if you're simply reading a script aloud. (In conversation, people don't sound that way.). Instead of a script, use bullet points to jog your memory.
  • Rehearse in front of a mirror - speak your 'notes out loud - until it becomes 2nd nature / natural
  • Feel free to vary your tone - speaking naturally with emphasis - just as you would in a normal conversation

Set Up the Camera + Look Directly into the Camera (not your computer screen)

  • Make sure to look directly into the camera. That is how the interviewer will see you.
  • Do a test of looking into the camera to see how it looks (as a dry run), and then in the interview, look into the camera. It's OK to look away from time to time - that is naturally - in conversation, people don't generally gaze into each other's eyes for minutes at a time!

High Priority: Properly Set Up Your Voicemail

  • Make sure to properly set up your voicemail, so that (1) You have a professional greeting that is easy to understand, spoken clearly and welcoming; and (2) You can RECEIVE MESSAGES from an employer!! (You would be amazed how many people do not do this!!)
  • If your voicemail is set up, then make sure to erase the messages in your inbox, to allow room for receiving new messages - from employers.
  • It is very frustrating for the employer to call you, and to receive a notice that there is no room in your voicemail inbox - it is not professional, for sure - and can set the wrong tone for your developing relationship. This is definitely something people will remember about you - and it DOES leave a BAD IMPRESSION!

Research the Company + Tell the Interviewer What Excites You About the Organization, Its Products / Services, Team, Culture, etc.

I would like to hear more about your excitement about working for the company. Use your research to find out more about the company, what was interesting to you and why; why do you want to work for them, vs. anyone else?

Video 1 - Tell Me About Yourself

  • 1 minute duration - use the video we watched in Week 1 as a Guide:
  • Focuses on the Job / Organization you are applying to.
  • Answers the question: Tell Me About Yourself and Gives them a Taste of Why They Should Hire You (Comment.gif: You can weave in a CAR Story in your answer / response but this is optional)
    • Show interest in the "business" of the organization and what they do, and why it is important.
  • Online Interview / Skype or YouTube Video call (aka 1st Interview screen}
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Tip: Be sure to map your experience to the job you want. For example, if the job is a "Coordinator", then it would make sense to use the word "coordinate" in how you explain your abilities. There will also be some keywords in the job description that you will want to tease / incorporate into your remarks.

Video 2 - Behavioral Interview Questions

(Comment.gif: Another person must ask you the questions - but I don't want to see them on camera. You have to speak directly to the Camera / Interviewer - while responding to the questions from the Interviewer. The Interviewer must follow the script - NO FREESTYLING - you will be penalized if the 4 Behavioral Interview Questions are not asked.)

  • 5 minutes duration
  • Answer Behavioral Interview Questions (3 or 4, including "Tell Me About Yourself")
  2. Tell me about a time....when you had a DIFFICULT CHALLENGING PROJECT to complete OR WHEN YOU HAD TO WORK UDER PRESSURE - what was difficult about it? What did you do? (i.e., time, resource, people constraints, met / did not meet goals)?
  3. Tell me about a time....when you had a CONFLICT WITH A SUPERVISOR / COLLEAGUE / OR CO-WORKER - what was the conflict? what did you do? What did you learn / do differently?...


  • Show Enthusiasm / Positive (i.e., You Want the Job)

Tips for a Successful Video Interview / Introduction

  • Wear professional attire: suit and tie
  • Be aware of bad angles, poor lighting
  • Be careful of ambient sound / noise - and seek to reduce it (i.e., air conditioner, humming of lights, traffic noise from open windows, etc.)
  • Look into the camera
  • Talk comfortably into the camera.
  • Don't sit on your bed OR do the video in your bedroom
  • Consider how you sound / come across
  • Write up your remarks as bullet points (Comment.gif: DO NOT READ FROM A SCRIPT - I WILL BE ABLE TO SEE YOUR EYES MOVING FROM SIDE TO SIDE READING IT; YOUR VOICE TONE WILL NOT BE GOOD, AND YOU WILL APPEAR ROBOTIC AND WOODEN. Memorization is equally problematic - what I am looking for is a more natural, conversational, relaxed delivery with the information required and seeing your smile, your enthusiasm and personality - just like in an in-person interview. )
  • Rehearse out loud, watch yourself / hear inflexions in tone (mirror), pacing
    • One approach that works, is to write out your remarks (bullet points help), then edit them to be more concise. Then, read them aloud - and take out wordy words (i.e., words you stumble over) - until it starts to feel more natural, compelling. You can then add body language by speaking into the mirror / seeing yourself on video.
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Tip: Memorizing Your Lines & Remember to Smile Be careful about memorizing your script - you want to leave room for natural, spontaneous delivery. If your video is 10 seconds (which it isn't), the performance comes across OK; but if your video is 1 minute (which it is), then your performance will come across as wooden and robotic! That is not something you want. So, make sure to include a bit of personality in your video - and a way to do this, is to show some other body language (i.e., smiling, relaxed shoulders, mild use of hands, relaxed shoulders.

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Tip: Use Bullet Points to Jog Your Memory - Use bullet points instead of a script - either from a piece of paper or your computer - and have the bullet points jog your memory. This way, you can glance at the information, and not read it.

  • Be enthusiastic about the position, SMILE if you can - ADD A SMILE TO YOUR VOICE / TONE
  • Show interest in the position and employer
  • The Instructor understand that it might not be comfortable to see yourself on video, hear your voice - this takes time to get used to - and you will have to do it in front of an interviewer - so again, practice makes perfect!
  • Make sure to remember the CAR stories you worked on, especially the Actions you performed, and Results achieved.

Instructions / Directions

  • Record your video - make sure sound level is OK and camera is working
    • Upload completed video to your YouTube Account (i.e., you may have to create a YouTube account - you can do so, but use your personal gmail address)
    • Set it to UNLISTED - so that anyone who has the link can see it (i.e., Me - Your Instructor) - You don't have to make it Public
  • Give it a meaningful name (i.e., your First Name & Last Name - Video Interview)
    • Make sure the YouTube Settings are: Anyone with the Link Can View

Submitting to Canvas

  • Copy the YouTube URL
  • Submit it in the Website URL in Canvas.


(Comment.gif: Penalties may be combined, at the discretion of the instructor)

  • Late Assignment / Missed Submission Date - 10 points
    • Video link not available for instructor to view = late assignment
  • Video under OR over allotted time - 7 points
  • Missing contact Information OR improper naming of documents - 2 points
  • Creating confusion for the interviewer / instructor - 2 points
  • Late, missing or incomplete discussion / blog posts - 1 point per each post, off final grade

Keep a Record of the Links for Your YouTube Videos - and Include them in the Final Paper (IF ASSIGNED)

    • Keep a copy of the link to your Video on YouTube and ALSO put it in a section in the Final Paper
    • Keep a copy of your Job Ad (PDF Format) - (i.e., not the link but the entire ad)
  • Make sure to provide a copy of this ad as supporting evidence in your Final Paper (Appendix)

Add Your Email Address & Cell Phone Number to Submitted Document

  • Please add your email address and cell phone number to the submitted document

Digital Projects / Portfolio

  • Any digital project / work that you do, may be used in your portfolio. This can be very impressive to employers.
  • Be sure to capture and organize all relevant links - (i.e., URLs, videos, tweets, etc.)
  • A good practice is to organize them in a Google Doc - and make sure you share it with your personal and Rutgers email addresses.
  • This can serve as part of your portfolio for this course (and other digital projects) that will be impressive to employers and can showcase what you've done.

Examples of Strong Capstone Websites

  • Here are some examples of strong Capstone websites (the students from School of Communications and Information have agreed that they may be shared).