Ace Your Interview
- 2009 23 Jan
Companies like to ask a lot of questions when interviewing. It starts out with “Tell me about a time when you… lost a sale, won a sale, worked on a team and it went well or did not go well, when you were the leader of a project, how you handle rejection," etc... These seem like easy questions to answer but for the majority of people it can be difficult to effectively communicate your experience and skills in ways that really grab people's attention and make them want to know more about you.
This is especially true in today’s market where there are more and more people going for fewer and fewer jobs. The companies can afford to be picky. What this means to you is that you must be on top of your game.
That begins with trusting in God first and living in faith. Let’s be honest, that can be difficult at times. For that reason, let me share a verse that has always helped me when I have been worried and faced with challenging issues.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)
Once you have given your worry over to God you can prepare for the interview by practicing how to effectively answer questions. By the way, this same skill that you are about to learn works great when aiming for a promotion.
When answering an interview question, follow the STAR method for great results:
1. Start by sharing the Situation. Keep it simple and give a brief overview of the example. Stick to the highlights.
2. Then move into the Task needed to be done. What things needed to take place?
3. Next share the Action you took to get things done, to get the business, achieve the goal, etc…
4. Finally, give the Result. Share the final outcome of this situation.
By answering questions using this method you make it easy for those interviewing you to follow your example. They will see that you are able to organize your thoughts and communicate them effectively.
The Dreaded Interview Question… Are You Ready to Answer it?
So, you’ve prepared for the interview using the STAR method. You’ve rehearsed your answers to questions you think they might ask. You have given all your worries about the interview over to God. Your resume is ready and you are feeling confident. Everything is going great; you even hit it off with the person interviewing you. It’s now time for the questions but no sweat, you are prepared.
You are asked a question such as:
- “Tell me about a time you worked on a team and not everyone got along. How did it go?”
- “Tell me about a time you lost a customer. What did you do to get them back and did you get them back?”
- “What is your greatest weakness?”
You answer the question, and you know you aced it. All of a sudden you get thrown a curve ball -- the dreaded interview question you were not expecting.
“That was a great example. Can you give me another example of when you were on a team, lost a customer, another weakness?” What, another example? you say to yourself. You had prepared to give one example to each question. You had not thought about having to give two examples to the same question. Why would someone do this? Are they out to get me?
Quite simply, they want to see how prepared you are and how well you respond under pressure when thrown a curve ball. Everyone interviewing knows that people prepare answers and read interviewing books (or at least they should) but they also know that most people never prepare to give multiple examples to a single question. I would do this often when interviewing people. If I really wanted to see how prepared they were and how they reacted under pressure, I would ask them to give me another example to the same question.
Now you know the dreaded interview question and more importantly -- how to prepare for it. Remember, have a second example ready just in case. By going the extra step you will be ready to hit the curve ball out of the park.
Stephen Jennings, “America’s Achievement Speaker,” is the author of Promoting Yourself, Tips & Tools for Acing the Interview, Receiving the Raise & Helping Others Along the Way. Visit his website at http://www.promotingyourself.net/