interview

When it’s your turn to ask questions 2

Last October, I wrote a blog post titled During the Interview, It’s Not About You. I outlined reasons why the interviewer must get certain things from the interview to justify hiring you. I recently came across this quote from Louise Garver, an executive coach for the past 23 years from Broad Brook, Conn., and founder of Career Directions, LLC. It reminded me that the way you approach the interview will determine your ultimate success.

When talking about asking questions of the Interviewer, she says “The best questions are really all about them and not about you”. You can find her list of questions to ask during your interview on her blog

The more I speak with individuals who are actively interviewing, the more I feel they are not giving this part of the interview enough thought. It’s not enough to be qualified and enthusiastic, you need to show that you will fit in. The interviewer must be able to visualize you working for her company, interacting with her employee’s, contributing to her company in a positive way. Using your questions to give the Interviewer a reason to hire you is a great tool to have in your job seeking tool belt.

I encourage you to spend as much time thinking about the questions you will ask as you do preparing for the questions you will have to answer. The difference may just be you will hear “when can you start?” sooner than later.

think and speak on your feet – part two 3

In part one I said that the ability to “think and speak on your feet” is an important skill that often determines your success in job interviews. And once you land the job, many kinds of careers and occupations require this skill. To practice for your upcoming interviews try this exercise.

The exercise had you: print out a list of questions before you read through them. Cut them apart and put them in a jar. When you are ready to practice “thinking on your feet”, stand in front of a mirror, pull out a topic at random and talk to the mirror for two minutes about whatever is on the paper.

Now I want you to do the same exercise, but this time with real interview questions. It’s ok to look at them before you cut them up and put them in the jar. In fact, I would suggest you write notes  for yourself about each question before you begin the exercise. When you actually practice your responses out loud, do not use the notes, as you won’t be able to do that in the actual interview.

Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is your biggest weakness?
  • Can you give me an example from a previous job where you have shown initiative?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Are you a team player?
  • What qualities do you find important in a coworker?
  • Can you think of a time when you dealt with a customer problem? What was it, what did you do to resolve it and how did it turn out?
  • How does your previous experience relate to this position?
  • When can you start?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

 

If you have been on interviews and were asked questions that you had trouble with, be sure to add them to your list so you will be better prepared the next time. And feel free to post those questions in a comment so I can share them with other job seekers.

The more you practice, the easier the next interview will be. Let me know when you hear those wonderful words, “you’re hired!”

Is your resume a list of your responsibilities? Then it’s wrong 0

Think about that for a moment. Anyone can make a list of job titles they have held, committees they have been on, even positions on local boards or volunteer agencies. But the biggest question to a future employer is what did you actually accomplish?

If you can’t get that across, it doesn’t matter how important the positions were you held. In order to make a lasting impression on an interviewer, they need to understand that you get things done. That you get things done in an efficient manner. That you get things done on schedule or even ahead of schedule.

And after you say that, then you must give a specific example of a problem at your last job, what action you took and most importantly, how the outcome was far better than your Boss had ever expected. The interviewer will remember that specific example and remember you.

As an example, when asked about your customer service skills you could say, “I’m a people person”. Or you could say:

As the Store Manager for Best Products in Hopewell, Va., I received a call one Christmas Eve from a customer about a ride-on toy he had purchased for his 6 year old son for Christmas. It was 8 PM when he noticed that the specialized battery for the car was not in the box. So I told him I would meet him at the store and we would get him the battery. I called my Assistant Manager (just in case this was a set-up) and I headed down to the store. We found the battery in another box and I sent him home, relieved that Christmas wasn’t ruined for his little boy.

Now that is a true story and it sticks much better than “I’m a people person”.

So as you prepare or review your resume, think about what you have specifically accomplished and the results you have produced. Then write that and be sure to share that in the interview. The results will amaze you.