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The Job Interview

Monday, November 23, 2009

By Brad Karsh, President, JobBound

Here's a shocking fact: Recruiting Directors actually want you to do well in an interview. They are not looking to trick you, terrorize you, or make you look bad. Instead, they are looking to make connections with people in order to find terrific candidates.

But for some reason, the Legend of the Evil Recruiting Director lingers. As a result, most people think of the interview as a contest, where the goal is to outguess or bluff the interviewer. In fact, it's really just a conversation, where the most important skills are being relaxed, confident, and honest.

How to think about an interview
An interview is your resume come to life.  Typically you’re interviewing because your resume was impressive enough to merit an in-person discussion.  Now they have the chance to see the real you!

It’s a bit scary, but it shouldn’t be.  Companies want to hire you for who you are, not for who you are trying to be in an interview.  Try to relax and be yourself. 

How to prepare – behavioral interviews
Most companies conduct behavioral interviews – where they are more interested in your skills and behaviors than in talking about the basics of what you did.  In other words, they are looking for the “hows” and the “whys” as opposed to the “whats.” 

What you need to do is take a 360 degree view of everything you’ve done.  Think about why you did it, what you learned, how it helped you grow, and what you might do differently if you had to do it all over again.

For instance, let’s say you were President of Young Professionals of Chicago.  Some of the questions you might get could be…

  •     Why did you decide to run for the position?
  •     What were you hoping to accomplish?
  •     What specifically did you accomplish?
  •     How did you work with the rest of the board?
  •     What did you like most?
  •     What did you like least?
  •     What did you learn?
  •     How would you do it differently if you had to do it all over again?

Thinking about these questions probably seems like torture, but you can be almost certain that these types of questions can and will be asked during an interview.  Just being aware of some of this stuff in advance can make your responses much stronger.

Obviously, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but you want to make sure you’re coming across as honest, insightful, and strategic in talking about what you’ve done.

That’s going to be the best way to ace an interview.

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