Job interviews are typically thought of as nothing more than a screening tool for employers. However, these interviews can also serve as an important screening mechanism for those seeking employment.
Generally, job seekers are so eager to find work and please potential future bosses that they spend the entire interview answering questions and never ask any. At Goodwill Job Center, and most other job placement services, they truly understand the process and you will be encouraged to treat your interview as a two-way street.
Obviously, the employer needs to decide if you are the right fit for the company, but you also need to figure out if that company is the right fit for you. After all, you may be spending 40 hours or so every week doing the job, so you need to make sure that the job itself, the team of other employees, and the manager you will be reporting to are a complementary professional fit. After all, these are very important factors to consider for future job satisfaction.
So, what can you do to properly prepare yourself not just to be asked questions, but to ask the right ones yourself?
The best advice you can follow is to do everything in your power to make the interview flow like a conversation—a two-way information session—rather than just a series of questions that you must answer in an allotted time.
A job interview should have both you and the interviewers engaged and everybody involved should come out of it feeling both positively interested and informed.
Here are some basic tips to assist in making the interview a productive experience:
Prepare a list of questions you think you may be asked
The first step is doing research on the company and the job itself so that you have plenty of information to draw from for your answers and potential questions you may want to ask.
Based on the specific job criteria listed in the job post you are responding to and the information you learned about the company in your pre-interview research, you should have an idea of what you want to say and some stories you can recall that will complement your answers.
However, while you should practice your interviewing skills, you do not want to script and then rehearse said answer as this could make you come across as impersonal and inauthentic.
Far more important than having canned answers prepared is coming across with confidence and being an active part of the conversation rather than a witness answering questions asked by a prosecutor.
If you are asked a question and can work in a story to relate your expertise to something tangible, you should do so. This will help to paint a clear picture of how you have incorporate specific skills in the real word and how that experience can be applied in the position to which you applied.
Conduct a mock interview
This is a good way to practice answering questions naturally without actually scripting answers. With each question you answer, you should also be ready to ask follow up questions. Follow Up questions not only allow you to get vital information about the job, but they also show your interviewers that you are involved and engaged.
As an example, if you are interviewing for an audio production job, if you are asked about your editing skills, you could say you are proficient with multiple programs and then ask if there is a specific program they prefer using.
You could also bring up questions when a specific requirement of the job is being explained. If you are told a job telephone skills, you can ask how much of the position is related to connecting with customers over the phone compared to face-to-face interactions.
Be prepared and be yourself
You have surely read all kinds of tips for conducting the perfect interview but the truth is, there is no perfect scenario. Instead, focus on being your true self and let your personality, interest, and experience shine through.
Interviewers will often see right through you if you try to put on a show and that will likely get you disqualified from consideration. For example, don’t share that your weakness is the desire to be a perfectionist, unless it’s true and you explain how while it may be an asset, it also prevents you from seeing and acting on the bigger picture because you’re too focused on unimportant details.
It’s questions like this that trip people up and why it can be of such value to connect with a local Goodwill Career Center for added mock interview practice.
Do not leave anything on the table
When you walk out of the interview, you should know every important interview about the position and company so you’ll be ready to make a decision should it be offered to you.
You should have asked enough questions throughout the interview that by the time you get to the obligatory, “Do you have any questions for me”, you have asked so many questions that you have few left.
You want to be able to leave the interview confident that they know everything they need to know about you and, just as important, you know everything you need to know about them.
By the time they walk you around the building to show you around the facility, you both should have a very good feeling about the future and whether you will be a good fit. In other words, instead of hearing, “This is our staff . . . This is what we do,” you should be hearing things more akin to, “This is who you will be working with . . . This is what you will be doing.”
Ideally, when you exit the building, you will feel confident that an offer is forthcoming.
Want to better ensure you’re prepared for your next interview. Connect with a career specialist today to perfect your resume, interview skills, and even closing negotiations.