The Job Interview
Job interviews are about as eagerly anticipated as root canals for many people. Even if you have been out of work for a long time and are desperately wanting to reenter the workplace, the necessary step of performing well during a job interview can be daunting. Interviewees tend to think the practice is akin to an interrogation or grilling, the result of which can be a harsh judgment, like getting voted off the island. They can be stressful enough to make even the most seasoned professional anxious.
The job interview can actually be a faulty procedure and not always reliable. We’ve all heard of how someone can shine during the interview only to lead the employer to feel buyer’s remorse once the candidate is on the job. And notice how subjective they are. Can’t there be a way of more objectively identifying talent before the job offer is made?
For most hiring situations, however, there needs to be a subjective screening component. The interview provides just that and is not going away anytime soon. Think of it this way. The interview provides a much-needed opportunity for dialogue, in other words a two-way conversation. Here is a chance for each of you to check each other out. It’ll help the pre-interview jitters if you can go into it feeling that you have some control over the situation. Even if they offer you the spot you don’t have to accept it unless the potential employer passes muster with you. Definitely go with some questions prepared that show you are inquiring about them.
But, of course, the harsh truth is that you have to convince a hiring manager or team of interviewers that you are a fit for the position and the organization. If you haven’t had an interview in a while and am wondering what to expect from an upcoming one, you might be helped by considering some likely scenarios. I’ve had many clients brief me on how their interview experiences have gone and here is what I can confidently generalize about them:
Go into one prepared. To think you can wing it, no matter how professional and experienced you are, is taking an unnecessary risk.
Be ready to tell about yourself as a relatively short introduction. Here is where you present your value proposition. This intro should also describe how your skills and qualifications are a fit for the position.
Know and be prepared to describe how much onboarding and induction training you’ll need. You are a cost to the employer. They may want to know how much that will be at the start of employment.
Have a response to the dreaded, ‘What are your weaknesses?” question. I recommend having two weaknesses to which you are ready to admit. But frame them as challenges you are actively managing. Have at least one example for each describing how you have recently and positively addressed the challenges, resulting in good outcomes.
Show that you are developing your career by having specific short and long-term goals to share.
Get ready to talk about how well you work both independently and as part of a team.
Be able to furnish information about the employer. Let them know that you have researched them and have a couple of questions designed to learn more about them.
A large and likely category of interview questioning is known as behavioral questioning. This is where you talk about how you handled or would handle realistic situations and challenges on the job, whether fabricated or actual from your past. Always think of presenting your answers such that it is clear how you added value to the circumstances.
There will likely be more questions than these, but by preparing and having responses ready for typical questions you are fortified for what may come.