Preparing for the interview de-stresses the situation considerably. Yet, 78% of all candidates – regardless of the level for which they are interviewing – wing it! And frequently cause themselves to be weeded out in the process.
Like so much of the interview, seemingly innocent questions can trip you up. You think you are answering them in a way that puts you in the best light, but you would be surprised at how many people completely miss the boat. Merely to hope an interview has a positive result is not enough. That is forfeiting your ability to drive up the percentage of a positive outcome.
For now, let’s consider the following question:
TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF
This is the time to tell the employer who you are as a professional in line with the position of interest. You have to sell yourself. Whatever you say at this point should communicate what you bring to the company. You want to sound professional but also relatable.
Some people, especially those who haven’t prepared and have a tendency to talk when they get nervous, find themselves rambling. Put together a nice little 2 – 3 minute verbal bio about your career, your qualifications, and why you are interested. Know what you’re going to say in advance.
A FEW POINTS TO REMEMBER
We used to say, “‘A’ candidates for ‘A’ companies, ‘B’ candidates for ‘B’ companies and ‘C’ candidates for ‘C’ companies,” and a ‘B’ candidate is not only some one who’s talents and track record is only so-so, it’s also an ‘A’ candidate whose poor interviewing skills MAKE him a ‘B.’
Knowing who you are, what you want, what you have to offer and what you’ve accomplished – and having it all on the tip of your tongue – can make or break you for a job offer – not just for your perfect job, but sometimes for even finding ANY job.
Being able to sell yourself, your skills, how you can benefit a potential company and then being able to close the deal necessitates taking the time to research and learn the company. It means knowing yourself well enough that you can apply aspects of your capabilities to the individual facts and details of that INDIVIDUAL company – and that you can do it smoothly without groping for words or just winging it.
To survive out there, you have to have your answers readily available. Be active and very responsive. Remember an interview session is scheduled for a specific period and your answers should rank within such.
The words of Peter Handal of Dale Carnegie Training, echo the importance of interview preparation, including what strikes most people as silly – role playing. But as he said, “you only have one chance to make a really good impression,” and if you don’t take it seriously enough to study and thoroughly prepare, someone else will, and that’s the person who will get the job!