Making the most of job interviews

Library | 7/26/2019

Waiting for an interviewJob interviews represent an exciting opportunity, but often come with some serious nerves. Don’t let interview pressures stand in the way of your next career. With just a bit of homework and preparation you can control many parts of the process. For example, remember to dress well, arrive organized and be a few minutes early to make a great first impression. Build up your confidence with these steps to prepare for your next dream job.

Practice interview questions
Great answers usually don’t happen on the spot. A good interviewee practices their responses to some of the most common questions. When the time comes, they will have thoughtful, concise answers ready to go. There are dozens of common interview questions, but here are some of the most popular ones to get you started.

  • Can you tell me about yourself? Although your accolades are fantastic, you don’t need to go into a diatribe of every achievement you’ve accomplished for work. Rather, this is a quick two-to-three sentence overview of some highlights and how those achievements have made you a good fit for this current role.

  • Why should we hire you? You can easily prepare for this question. Typically, it means answering that you can deliver desirable results over other candidates and that you’d be compatible with the company culture.

  • What are your biggest weaknesses? This question can be an ideal opportunity to highlight your ability to problem solve. Maybe you’re working on improving something related to the workplace. For example, say in the past you struggled with taking on leadership roles but have pushed yourself to head committees at work and have enjoyed it. This can show overcoming obstacles.

  • What are some challenges you experienced at work and how did you address them? Hiring managers ask this question because they want to know how you’ve handled conflict. Here is a chance to describe your responsibility in the situation and what steps you took to address the conflict. Tell the interviewer what outcomes resulted from your actions.

  • Where do you see yourself in five years? This can be a difficult question to answer. An employer wants to know if you have ambitions and if your career expectations are realistic. Sometimes people don’t have a direct answer to this question and that’s okay. You can always say that the position factors into your ability to have a clearer picture of what that plan should be.

Do your homework
Yes, it’s important to thoroughly peruse the company’s website to learn about the organization with which you are interviewing. However, do some homework beyond looking at the employer’s webpage. Social media can be an excellent tool to see what the company culture is like. What are the employees discussing? What type of interaction do employees have with each other on these platforms? Is it lively? You can use the information you’ve gathered from these platforms—especially if the information surrounds a company event or product launch—and bring it up during the interview. Be careful with information from other employment sites. These company reviews from previous and current employees might provide some information, but these are often anonymous and hard to verify as accurate.

Make the most of the numbers
Pepper your interview with statistics, percentages, and quotas to quantify your achievements from previous positions. Sure, it sounds more impressive, but it also helps employers understand the full scope of your accomplishments and their impact on your previous companies. Finding the right job requires preparation and diligence. You can make the most out of your interviews by reviewing the company culture and history, and by having prepared answers to some most frequently asked questions. Put in the work and you’ll find the job that’s a great fit.

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