VOL. 133 | NO. 74 | Thursday, April 12, 2018
Own Your Next Interview
Dr. Mary C. McDonald
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life,” Steve Jobs once said, “and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Great work is not a “one size fits all.” Great work comes with a variety of skills, abilities and requirements, and you know that you have what it takes to do great work. The only problem is, you can’t get past the job interview.
Whether someone is seeking an internal promotion, a career change or just looking to land that dream job, in my professional experience as an interviewer, I have seen highly qualified, experienced candidates not chosen because they fell short on the interview. It can happen that a less-qualified person with polished interview skills can score more points. And when that happens, it can be a loss for both the new hire and the company.
After years of interviewing and mentoring job seekers, I know there are only a few steps needed to be taken that will separate those who are successful and those who are not. And that first step is preparation. What do you know about the company posting the position, and the person or persons who will interview you? Have you researched the job requirements and expectations? Who holds the position now, and why is there an opening? Understanding the corporate culture and how you would fit in gives you an edge on answering those interview questions.
First impressions do count. How you present yourself at the interview, how appropriately you dress, reflects the respect you have for the company and for yourself. If the job opening is one that represents the company in the public arena, then it is even more critical to present a professional look.
There is no need to fear the questions. Other than job-specific technical question related to the skills needed, most questions are standard. Tell me about yourself. Why should we hire you? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Why did you leave your last job? What is your biggest accomplishment? How did you get along with your boss and co-workers? Relax. These are questions about you, so your answers should be brief, confident and truthful, giving depth and meaning to your resume.
Can you effectively communicate your ability, experience and training to do the job, using correct grammar, quickly processing the questions and thinking on your feet? Are you real, authentically engaging those present in a way that causes them to want you on the team? Tell them something not on your resume or share how your community involvement helped hone your skills. Own that interview.
Ask a few questions of them that shows your interest in the company and what it would be like to work there. And most importantly, express your gratitude for their time and interest in knowing more about you. Then, humbly and confidently, express your hope to see them again, soon.
Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a National Education Consultant, can be reached at 901-574-2956 or mcd-partners.com.