Ace Your Next Interview
Interviews are not created equal
The person sitting across from you at an interview can make or break your chance of getting the job. But, what if the person conducting the interview is ill-prepared, or worse yet, completely inept? People are often promoted to a management level position due to their technical or job related skills. However, without specific training on how to interview, they may be hurting your chances of landing the job.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
Since you will never know the skill level of the interviewer, it is best to err on the side of caution. Prepare for your interview as though you are being interviewed by a new hiring manager; one who has never interviewed before.
Without experience the new manager will likely ask questions directly from your resume. He or She will most probably try to find common interest to talk about. Both will take up time and allow for good conversation, but neither will allow you to show that you will be successful in the role.
You need to be prepared to answer questions with answers that give information, even when the interviewer asks a bad question. Understand that the best indicator of how you will perform on the job is how you have performed in the past. This means work, school, and volunteer work, anything that demonstrates performance.
Some questions they should ask
In order to prepare for a basic interview have answers memorized to the following questions:
- Tell me about a time when you had multiple tasks to complete in one day. How did you prioritize your work, how did you accomplish the tasks?
- Give me an example of a time when you did not meet the expectations of your supervisor.
- Tell me about a time when you exceeded the expectations of a supervisor.
- Tell me about at time when you had very important personal plans and a work emergency came up. What did you do? How did that make you feel?
- Tell me about a time when you felt overwhelmed by your duties at work or school. What was going on at the time and how did you handle it?
- Give me an example of someone you had to work with that you didn’t like. Who was the person, what was their role, and how did you deal with the situation?
- Tell me about your experience in customer service? (they are looking for you to know that there are both internal and external customers in the work place. Employees are internal customers and you work to please both internal and external customers or clients).
- Give me an example of a time when you were given a task, but not given the appropriate resources to accomplish that task. What did you do? Did you ultimately accomplish the task?
- Give me an example of a time when you were left with no direction in the work place. How did you find the necessary answers and what was the result?
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an irate customer or client? What was the problem and how did you resolve it? What was the outcome?
But what if they don’t?
A novice interviewer likely won’t ask you these questions. However, if you have answers memorized, you can use the stories to answer the questions that they do ask. For example an unskilled interviewer may ask, “what would you do if you felt overwhelmed by your job?” It is a bad question because it is hypothetical, and you can say you “would” do anything. It’s more important for you to answer that hypothetical question with a REAL answer that you have memorized from the above list (number 5 would work). A real example of a time you DID feel overwhelmed at work, and how you handled it.
The key to interviewing is preparation. If you prepare yourself with good answers to the questions above you should be able to use them for most any question that a novice throws your way.