Over the summer, I was hired by the YMCA to help with their Summer Youth Employment Program. I conducted mock job interviews with the class to familiarize them with the interview process. Even though they had little to no job experience, I showed them that the work they do at home and school does count for a lot. Many students take care of their household and younger siblings while their parents are at work. I explained they are developing managerial experience, conflict resolution, and team building, all of which employers are looking for. We tend to overlook the skills we gain at home, school, and work.
Here are a few helpful hints that might be useful to anyone who may be gearing up for a new position.
Research the Company: Tailor your answers that show you understand the organization, the position you're interviewing for, and why you'll be a benefit to the firm. Businesses want to know you've done your homework.
Be Confident: Walk into the interview with your shoulders back, making eye contact, and smile when you shake the other person's hand.
What to Say: "Tell me about yourself" sounds like a simple, straightforward question asked in interviews, yet it feels complicated to answer. Do you recite your resume? Do you talk about your accomplishments at your last job? Is this the time to explain what a hard worker you are? The reason for this question is to break the ice and start a conversation with the person conducting the interview. They want to know a little bit about you to see if you'll be a good fit in their company. This is your chance to shine. Here's a template you can use to flesh out your story to keep you from rambling.
Start with the Present: Right now, I'm working at __________________. My duties include_______________________. The weekends I spend my time doing________________________.
Talk about the Past: I've been involved in ___________________(this could be community service, a different job that shows other skills you have, or a work project you're proud of. Talk about any awards you've received or accomplishments you've garnered.
Tell a story about a time when you tackled a problem, met a demanding deadline, or developed a solid team of co-workers. When you talk about actions you've taken to help grow a business, you're telling the interviewer that you're a team player, hard worker, and conscientious.
Now your Future: I'm excited about the opportunity of working in ______________ because the experience will give me the knowledge of being in a productive environment that will lead to more challenges. I want to grow and expand my skills to be a valuable employee.
Remember to Listen: Nerves can sometimes get the better of us, and we forget to listen. Stay calm and relaxed by breathing slowly and focusing on the person in front of you. Hear what the interviewer has to say. You'll often be given the blueprint of what they're looking for if you pay attention. Use some of the same terminology the interviewer uses, and you'll connect with them much more quickly.
Interviewing may seem daunting, but like everything else, practicing helps you work out the kinks, and it does get easier. Work with people you trust, get constructive feedback, and keep learning. If this is a skill you or your company needs help with, don't hesitate to contact me for more information.