Unless you are blessed with the charisma of ‘Beyoncé’ or confidence of ‘The Rock’ you have freaked out before a job interview, just like the rest of us. The experience could have been anything from a little stressful to a full blown panic attack!
Before I started my own business I suffered through some painful and embarrassing interviews as well. This was due to a variety of issues; incompetence, lack of experience, inability to restrain my ego. But the primary cause for failure my LACK OF PREPARATION.
While messing up on an interview will happen to the best of us, it’s wise to see how we can mitigate them. Especially when these slip ups can delay our climb of the proverbial ladder. As cliche as it sounds being prepared truly is the key to landing a great job.
Would you risk losing your dream job because you weren’t prepared?
Below is what I discovered from my errors. Here’s the top 4 questions you should not take lightly at an interview.
1. Tell Me About Yourself.
This is a great chance to separate yourself from the herd and break the monotony interviewer has undergone with the other interviewees. Sell yourself, do not waste this question by repeating something that’s already in your resume. Give them an interesting yet succinct nugget that will instantly highlight you from the rest. Either a personal or professional anecdote will so long as it reveals a character strength. Depending on your audience share a quick achievement, a clear ambition or a confident observation.
“I gained so much from mopping floors at McDonalds, I’m not afraid of hard work”
“I learned a lot by teaching Sunday School, I enjoy teaching and training”
“Winning a speech contest was a proud moment for Me, I like working for achievements”
“Skydiving was a moment of overcoming my fears, I look forward to a challenge”
2. Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?
If the reason is simple: just be blunt. Matters involving downsizing, relocating, outsourcing, salary, no career expansion etc is self explanatory. However if your departure was complicated, your answer needs care. If you were flat out fired this needs to be stated quickly as the truth will eventually come out. But if you are tactful this is your one shot at setting the record straight and never being asked this matter again. As long you didn’t murder, assault or steal at your last job the interviewer will be empathetic to your story.
The interviewer is not looking to embarrass you, she is actually keen to know how you deal with rejection, stress and difficulty. Focus on who you are now rather than what you did then. No matter what happened if you emphasize what you have learned since your errors it will add major brownie points to your stature.
“I didn’t quite fit into the company culture, but that was due to my lack of experience”,
“I made a few mistakes in which I’ve learned and grown from”
“I’m not happy with what happened, but I’m glad it made me the person I am today”
3. Tell Me How You Handled a Difficult Situation?
This is a direct assessment on your emotional intelligence and people skills (EQ/EI). They are looking for patterns of healthy relationship management of customers, teammates or superiors. You must highlight past battles whether it be losses or victories. The important thing is to reveal experience and learning. It’s a great time to name drop a few prize clients you’ve managed to win over. They are looking for potential leaders and you can let them know your one of them.
“I learned alot about myself by managing hotel guests during the easter bombings”
“Even though I was upset about the customer yelling at me i was able to rectify the situation”.
4. Why Should We Hire You?
This will be another free range chance to highlight yourself. Focus on emphasizing your skills relevant to the job. The experience of being a team player, fast learning and problem solver and what will really pull them in. There’s no shame in showing you have drive and ambitions. It is wise to refer to things stated in the job description or advert.
“Having a good sales streak at my previous job i have no doubt i can do even better here”
“As mentioned in the JD you’re looking for coordination skills, i have plenty of experience in managing other departments well at my previous job.
However if you don’t have much experience or success stating your interest to grow is a healthy start. Another great way to win them over is if hopefully you’ve done your due diligence on the company. Even stalking them on FB & Linkedin might prove helpful (just don’t be creepy). Showing that you spent time understanding the company wisely and effectively.
“I noticed your company is diversifying into fast food, i trust my part time at Burger King would be helpful”.
“I’ve seen on social media your company is active in events, this is an area I would like to learn”.
In conclusion: Be Your Best Self
Interviews are relationship revealing moments. It’s where the interviewer decides how much they like you, no one gets hired without being liked first. So it’s ok to be yourself but aim for the best version of yourself. There are no perfect answers at interviews, each situation is different just as you are unique. It will not be possible to display all your talents and skills effectively in an hour so don’t pressure yourself to do so. However if you answer these above questions wisely you will provide enough confidence to your interviewer that they will have no choice but to consider for the job.
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