Job Tips- How to Shine At a Job Interview
Whether you are in the job-search market as a result of unemployment or because you are looking to advance to a better position, job interviews are a dreaded part of the process.
If you really want to shine you need to be better prepared then any potential interviewer.
Know Yourself. If you are lucky enough to get a really accomplished interviewer, and you have done your homework, this is your opportunity to shine. Before entering the job interview process give some thought to how you would answer the following questions. Odds are that they will be asked in some form or the other. If not, perhaps you can weave some of your finer answers into the interview.
Tell me about yourself. Be brief and concise. Perhaps mention any relevant career history (Example: I currently manage $20mil in accounts receivable and oversee 103 people), especially related education (have a Masters in Finance), marriage facts (have been happily married for 12 years) and an interesting hobby or two (I am a gourmet cook and like to play soccer).
Why are you interested in working for ABC Company? Do your homework about the company. Identify areas in which your goals and the company intersect. Even if you aren't asked this question it is a good way to wrap up an interview by highlighting how you could benefit each other. (I know that ABC Company is a leader in design technology for ergonomic chairs. My background coincides perfectly because I have specialized in this area and have received a number of design awards for my forward thinking. I'd love to work with best.)
What did you dislike most about your last job? ALERT … ALERT …trick question intended to test your attitudes as an employee! DO NOT start whining about how cheap or mean etc. they were. Be clever. Use this as an opportunity to make yourself look good. (I really enjoyed my last place of employment, actually. If I HAD to come up with a dislike it would probably be that the management team tended to stay with the company for years so there wasn't much room for advancement since management positions rarely opened up.) See! You were kind, implied that you were content but also ambitious and a hard worker.
What was your favorite thing about your last boss? Again, potentially damaging questions if you aren't careful. His nice abs won't be a relevant answer! (My last boss was a great teacher who really encouraged me to contribute my best. He challenged me to excel and I really appreciated the opportunity to both learn and contribute my expertise.)
Why are you looking for a new job? Whether you are looking for job advancement or are unemployed due to downsizing, be positive. Keep your answer short but informative. If you were fired you'll need to put a nice, but truthful, spin on it. (My last employer was forced to downsize as a result of the economic downturn. Unfortunately, since I was the most recent hire in my position, I was affected. They did offer to call me back as soon as possible but I really wanted to continue working without lapse.)
What is your greatest strength? This question provides a great opportunity. Know your strengths. Think about what past employers would say. (I am very organized, a great manager who really gets my employees motivated, a real team-builder, meticulously detailed or a great problem solver.) Try to come up with a sentence that incorporates a couple of strengths into a cohesive picture.
What is your biggest weakness? Again, caution. Use this potentially negative question as an opportunity to exhibit strength. (I tend to be a big-picture person so I like to work with people who enjoy minutiae. Still, some people would say I'm very detail-oriented but I do think of myself as a big-picture person.)
Be Yourself. Job interviews suck. They do. The ones who will make the best impression are those who are prepared AND who then just relax and be themselves.
No point in getting all nervous and antsy. It will kill you in the interview. Just relax and remind yourself that being just exactly who you are is GOOD ENOUGH. Perfect. Your quiet self-confidence will show and impress.
Take subtle control, if necessary. The truth is that all to often interviewers do NOT know how to conduct a solid and meaningful interview. This can really hurt you because it removes your chance to shine and stand apart from others.
One way to combat a poor interviewer is to gently and unobtrusively take control. Find little ways to work in those points you've worked so hard on. Take a simple question like "What are your salary expectations?" and add your strengths into the answer. ("Based on past performance I feel comfortable in standing that I will be able to build a strong and dynamic team to quickly accomplish the goals you have mentioned. Therefore, I would ask for slightly above the industry standard of $55,000 with a 90 day review process.")