A job interview can be like the test drive for a new car. You’ve been called in because the hiring managers like your style, but whether or not you’ll be their ultimate choice is based on your performance in the interview. Knowing what to emphasize during the interview helps ensure a smooth ride. However, perfection in unrealistic, so be prepared to discuss your weaknesses in the context of the invaluable lessons you’ve learned.
During an interview, you must emphasize why you are qualified for the job. Discuss your educational and professional history at length. Don’t assume your interviewer is familiar with your resume; get comfortable outlining your school and work history in person. However, fight the temptation to ramble or over-inform. Tailor your responses to the position you’re applying for. Your potential boss doesn’t need to know your every accomplishment from the sixth grade on; freely discuss your achievements but only if they’re relevant to the specific position for which you’re applying.
If you have a strong work ethic, impress your potential employer with the depth of your commitment. Emphasize your dependability, resourcefulness and diligence. If you take pride in the fact that you’ve never been late for a day on the job, say so. If you’re the type of employee who comes in early, stays late and snags an extra shift on the weekend, let your future boss know. Back up your tales of dedication with a reason for your passion. Discuss how accomplishing goals gives you an unparalleled sense of fulfillment, or how you’re gunning to be the youngest hot shot in your field. Whatever your source of motivation, make it clear in the interview that you are self-directed and unstoppable.
Regardless of how well you and your interviewer get along, do not drop your guard. Even if the person doesn’t maintain a high level of professionalism, refuse to follow her lead. Take the high road at all times. Interviewers often try to trick potential employees into relaxing enough to let down their guard, only to penalize them later for any display of unprofessional behavior. Don’t take the bait. Instead, discuss how your impeccable professionalism has helped you throughout your career. Use examples of conflict management and resolution, excellent customer service, teamwork and critical thinking to drive the point home. Remain focused, and prove to your interviewer that you will not be diverted from your goal.
Impress your interviewer with intricate knowledge of your potential job. Emphasize the details of the position, and how you plan to meet each specific need. Do your homework; use the company website to obtain more information than what’s offered in the original job advertisement. If your search comes up empty, use the Internet or your professional contacts to find out what that job title entails. Walk into your interview knowing exactly what the job requires, and exactly how you’ll meet those requirements. However, don’t be a know-it-all. Ask your interviewer questions to display humble curiosity and a willingness to learn. Ask about employee training programs and tuition reimbursement to emphasize a desire for continual self improvement.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.