Three most common
of the Basic
Interviews can be daunting to the most experienced job seeker, and
"terror-ific" to the less experienced. Preparation before the
interview can make a dramatic difference in your confidence level. Here
basic questions for you to review to help you prepare for the interview
become more confident:
are you?" - or - "Tell me about yourself."
The answer you give to this question will set the tone for the rest of
interview. The secret to success with this free-form question is to
and practice. You cannot afford to "wing" this statement, as it will
have an effect on the rest of the interview.
Focus: List five strengths you
that would be pertinent to this job (i.e. experiences, traits, and
consider the requirements and key words listed in the job announcement
begin listing your strengths. You want them to relate to the position.
you are doing a television commercial – what do you need to
include in a quick
two-minute summary statement/sales pitch to sell the interviewer on the
(you)? What will make him or her want to hear more?
Script: Write a draft
of your response.
Incorporate your strengths into the statements, as well as the keywords
have found in the announcements and any accomplishments you have that
response until you feel comfortable and confident about what you want
share, and emphasize. Your script is a way of helping you stay on
shouldn't be memorized, resulting in sounding stiff and rehearsed. You
sound natural and conversational.
your long-term goals?
This open-ended question, and others like "Where do you see yourself in
five years?," throw most candidates off kilter. The purpose of
like these is to check your self-awareness and communication skills.
If you are the type of person who prefers an organized way of life, you
find this question a "piece of cake". But, if you are among the
majority of people who let life happen as it comes along, you will
have a smooth answer without some forethought.
The best answers to this type of question come from you thinking about
want, specifically. Begin by considering your short-term goals. No one
you exactly how to answer this question – it will come from
what is important
to you. However, the more focused and employer-centered you can be
goal, the better your chances will be of steering the interview in the
direction. Do your best to match your goals to the position. This
knowledge regarding the company and position, so do your homework!
we hire you?
This is another broad question that can take you down the wrong road
have done some thinking ahead of time about what to say. This question
selling yourself – think of yourself as the product. Why
should the customer
Develop a "sales" statement. The more detail you can provide, the
your answer will be. This is not a time to talk about what you want. It
time to summarize your accomplishments, relate what makes you unique,
demonstrate what you have to offer in terms of what the employer is
Start by looking at the job description or posting. What are the
is the employer stressing as requirements of the job? What will it take
the job done? Make a list of those requirements, then do an inventory
determine what you have to offer as a fit against those requirements.
two or three key qualities you have that match what the employer is
not underestimate personal traits that make you unique, such as your
personality type, working style, and people skills. Consider your work
experience, education, and volunteer work. Take some time to think
sets you apart from others.
Regardless of what you are asked in an interview, preparation and
improve your performance and give you a better chance of successfully
against the other candidates. Knowing who you are and what you have to
offer is vital for success!
MEd, CPRW, CFRWC
Senior Interview Training Consultant &
Coffey has over 15 years of experience
providing interview coaching and career management strategies to all
government and private sector employees. She serves as lead Interview
Trainer for The Resume Place and helped create a formal job interview
service there. In addition, she wrote the interview chapter of Ten Steps to a Federal Job. Prior to
that, Jessica created and managed three successful mock interview
a Contract Career Counselor at the IRS,
she developed an interview prep
guide for transitioning employees and led numerous career management
Jessica's ability to quickly assess and determine key areas of
interview clients has helped them, time and again, perform more
successfully during the interview process.
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