To succeed in an interview, you must be self aware.
to a friend or family member and ask that person to sum himself
or herself up in 25 words or less. Chances are, he or she will be
totally unprepared to answer. You may hear incomplete thoughts and
sentence fragments, along with a lot of mumbling. You, on the other
hand, must be able to discuss yourself in clear, credible terms.
Start by asking yourself why you want the job in the first place.
If money is the only answer you can come up with, you should think
about it some more or call the organization back and decline the
interview. What motivates you and how can this job, this company
profit from your motivation? Have a ready, concise answer to this
question, an answer that would impress YOU, were you on the other
side of the desk. Here are some examples of good responses:
want to make an important contribution and I understand that this
company values good ideas and hard work, regardless of how young
someone might be."
an organization that would really allow me to use my people skills."
"I have friends
who work here, and they've said it's a great place for really
You don't need a dissertation, just a brief, clear answer.
write down a list of your strengths. Do you perform well as a member
of a team? Do you learn new skills quickly? Can you juggle several
tasks at the same time? Are you a creative problem solver? Are you
good at handling details? Do you like to be challenged? Are you
comfortable in new settings? When you've listed your strong traits,
then write down next to each an example from your personal or professional
life. For instance:
Good team player: serve on a neighborhood watch committee.
handle several tasks simultaneously: worked two jobs while going
to school full time, and still had a 3.7 GPA.
at handling details: as an Executive Assistant in my last job,
kept the minutes of two corporate steering committees.
two of this particular exercise involves an examination of your
weaknesses. Do you hate talking on the telephone? Do you become
impatient with others? Does mundane paperwork drive you up the wall?
Make a list of your shortcomings, and next to each, show an example
from your personal or professional life demonstrating how you've
worked to correct or modify that behavior. For instance:
on phone: I use a hands-free headset so I can move about the room
as I talk. That makes me more relaxed on the phone.
with others: I recall times when I might have tried someone else's
patience, and that keeps me a little more grounded and humble.
paperwork: I get as much of it done in the morning as I can. Then
I don't have to think about it the rest of the day.
To be asked about weaknesses by an interviewer does not mean that
you have to reveal your deepest, darkest secrets. Just consider
the manageable items on your downside, and be prepared to discuss
Continue to: PRESENTATION SKILLS