Preparing your answers for an interview is so much eeeeeasier when you know what the interviewer really wants to know about you! Once you understand what those are, you can be more prepared, more confident and feel less anxiety during the interview process.
Here are three (3) of my exclusive insider secrets into the mindset of interviewers and what they really want to know about you…
- Can you do the job?
Do you have the skills, knowledge, and training to successfully perform the job? These questions are usually very black and white.How you should prepare: Read the job description 4 or 5 times to fully understand all of the job requirements. Select the top 2-3 critical skills that are most important.Think back on your career and select some “success stories” that you’ve had with each of those skills. Specifically, talk about the situation, how you demonstrated that skill, and the results. Keep it short and simple. Practice saying your success stories out loud. Your answers should be specific and focus on results and accomplishments.
- What “extras” do you bring?
For most job openings, about 80% of the work has been defined. In other words, a hiring manager knows about 80% of the work that the new employee will be responsible for, but not the remaining 20%. That is because they want to know, “What can you (the new employee) ADD to the position?”What extra skills or areas of expertise do you have that can ADD VALUE to the company? For example, if you’re going for a job as a Pubic Relations manager, you may have some experience in marketing or desktop publishing that is not required for the job, but might be valuable to the company. This “extra” skill may position you as the TOP candidate for the job.How you should prepare: Before you go into a job interview, think about the additional skills and talents that you can bring to the position. Be sure to work these skills into the conversation, but only after you have discussed those skills and qualifications that are REQUIRED for the job.
- Where are you at risk?
Every new employee is a risk to an organization. Whether it’s a specific requirement that you don’t meet, or a skill you don’t have, or potentially being overqualified for the position, or taking a medical leave of absence, etc. So, spend some time thinking about where YOU are a risk.How you should prepare: During the interview, beat the interviewer to the punch by stating where you a risk and reassuring him why it won’t be a problem. For example, when I was interviewing at the NBC Affiliate TV Station (where I worked for 4 years), the Operations Manager was asking a lot of what I thought were too detailed questions about my experience. I jumped in and said, “I’ve read the job description over and over, and I’m absolutely confident I can do this job. The one concern I have is that I don’t know how to work the equipment in the news room.” She looked at me, breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Oh! We can teach you that!” She hired me the next day and I worked for her for 4 terrific years :)Addressing your risks is also the reasoning behind the question, “Tell me about any weaknesses you have.” When you are asked this question, I recommend that you respond by bringing up an area for improvement, but quickly add what you are already doing to strengthen that skill.For example, let’s say that you are interviewing for a position for a Sales VP and the position advertises that the applicant should know a specialized software application. If you are not familiar with this tool, you could say that you do not have a lot of experience with it but that you are taking an on-line training class to sharpen your skills (but only say this if it’s true!)
This approach shows that you are serious about your professional development and take the initiative to grow and improve your skills.
Do you have any interviewing tips to share? I’d love to hear about them… 🙂
Sherri Thomas is President of Career Coaching 360, an international speaker, and author of “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” – on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books! Career Coaching 360 (www.CareerCoaching360.com) provides career planning, management coaching, and leadership development support to help professionals change careers quickly and easily. To learn how you can reinvent your career quickly and easily, visit Career Coaching 360’s website for resume help, interviewing support, and personal career coaching packages.