During an interview, a prospective employer wants to get to know you better as a person. Your resume tells a prospective employer everything he/she needs to know about your educational background, work history, and job skills. You’ll be expected to answer questions on these topics but, to ace an interview, you need to be able to speak beyond your resume.
Different companies have different ways of approaching interviews. Some ask every candidate the exact same questions while others take a more open approach, allowing the conversation go where it may. As a job applicant, you should be able to do four things in any interview setting: speak knowledgeably about the company, articulate your successes, talk about your weaknesses, and ask questions about the job.
1. Speak knowledgeably about the company
Before you even sent a resume in response to a job posting, you should have researched the company to find out exactly what products or services it offers, where it operates, how it’s structured, and other important details. During the interview, you can use this knowledge to demonstrate you know how you and your job skills can help the company meet its goals.
Instead of offering generic answers to interview questions, tailor your responses to show how you will address the company’s specific needs. You might say something like, “All of my experience in healthcare compliance has been in Texas, so I’m well-qualified to oversee risk reduction activities in your nine Texas-based nursing homes.” This response shows the hiring official you’ve done your homework and understand where your skills might fit in.
2. Articulate your successes
Many people fear “tooting their own horn” or sounding egotistical by “bragging” about their accomplishments, but in a job interview you absolutely must be able to discuss your successes. To make it easier, you should come prepared with two or three anecdotes about things you’ve achieved – at work or outside it.
Maybe you want to tell a story of running your first 10k race, how you trained every day, and how you felt victorious even by coming in last. Or maybe you want to relate an incident that occurred at work, when a colleague left without warning and you stepped in to take on additional responsibilities until the role could be filled. Rehearse these stories by telling them to friends until you feel comfortable talking about them.
3. Talk about your weaknesses
Gone are the days when you could couch a weakness as a strength by saying something like, “My biggest weakness is working long hours.” Employers don’t want to hear that from you.
Instead, prepare to talk about two or three genuine deficits – and how you plan to address them. For instance, if you’re asked about your greatest weakness on the job, you could respond with something like, “I wish I had a better grasp of bookkeeping now that I’m moving into positions that require more budget responsibility, and I’m planning to take an online course to improve my skills in that area.”
4. Ask questions about the job
Always remember a job interview is a two-way street. You don’t want to work for just any firm or take just any job. You want to make sure the company, position, and people are a good fit for you and your career goals.
So come prepared with three to five questions that will provide the insight you need to determine whether or not to accept the position, if it’s offered to you. A few questions you might consider are:
What caused this position to come open?
What has been the position/department’s biggest challenge over the past year?
What is the departmental culture like?
What are the top priorities for this position over the next six months?
What type of staff or resource support will I have to accomplish the department’s goals?
These types of questions demonstrate that you want to be successful in the job, and any hiring manager will appreciate that!
Advance your education to be interviewed for better jobs
Employers may not always ask about your education in an interview, but you can guarantee they’re looking at it, and that having the the right training for a job can help ensure you get your foot in the door. For those ready to take the next step in their current career – or start a new one – talk to an admissions advisor today to find a degree, diploma, or certificate program at Ashworth College that will propel your career to the next level.