So, you have been lucky enough to get to the interview stage – so what happens next? In most cases we let ourselves down due to lack of preparation. Not fully knowing what we have to offer, not fully identifying our transferable skills and certainly not expanding enough within our responses.
Most likely the interviewer will ask, “Tell me about yourself,” and quite often (usually because of the above) we start by saying: “I am hardworking, honest, reliable and I can work in a team or on my own using my own initiative.” This is called (or what I call) a ‘so what‘ response. So what if you are hardworking, I will be paying you so this is the least I expect. So what that you are honest and reliable, again this is my money and I would expect this from anyone I employ. So what you can work in a team – so can millions of other people.
Really, what the interviewer is wanting to know is about previous work/experience you have, as they will be picturing you already working within which ever role you have applied for. Don’t rush the response, give an overview of how you have performed in previous roles. What hobbies/interests do you have? The interviewer is trying to get to know you so again expand on what you enjoy doing out of work. This is a good way to also build up a connection, maybe you’ll find some common interest you share with the interviewer.
You will also probably be asked about the skills you could bring to the job role. Again, refrain from just listing these: “I am hardworking, a good time-keeper, I can work in a team……….” These are ‘so what.’ At this stage, the interviewer will probably be thinking about what they are having for tea, what they need to get from the shops, what they need to next in their own job. You risk losing the attention of the interviewer by the ‘so what‘ responses.
Instead, expand and inform the interviewer. “One of the skills I could bring to this job role is my ability to work hard. When I worked at my previous employment I would make sure I arrived at least 15 minutes before my shift started. Once I had completed my own tasks I would then offer support to my colleagues to ensure collectively all our jobs were completed to a high standard.” Giving real-life examples will also show your competence too.
The key with this response is to link your own skills, qualities and strengths advertised in the job advert. This is where your preparation will help. Each job will want a variety of essential and desirable skills and qualities, for each one write down how and when you have used these skills/qualities. This will enable you to sell yourself and your ability to do the job.
In a ‘nut shell‘, you must become every aspect of the job advertised. Knowing your ability and being able to give examples (even if you are not asked for examples) will ease your nerves and you will (hopefully) be confident when responding to the potential interview questions you may get asked.
For more information on how to use ‘effective communication’ within your interviews take a look at the communication blog.