I remember when I was in college and I had my first “official” interview for a job. I write “official” because we are actually being interviewed on a daily basis without even knowing it. If you look up the definition of interview it is: “a meeting of people face-to-face, especially for consultation.”
We often think about interviews as being the last step to a job offer. We send our resume and motivation letter to a company we want to work for, we either get invited to meet with someone inside the company or a recruitment officer who will decide whether or not you get the job. It can last as little as 15 minutes! Because of this, whether you are being interviewed for volunteer work, internship or a job to start off your career, the key to success is BEING PREPARED!
Tell me about yourself…
So, for my official interview I thought I was really… prepared. Of course, I would get the job; I had a great motivational letter, I was highly motivated, I prepared what I was going to wear the night before and I knew it was important to do a firm handshake and look the interviewer in the eye. Piece of cake!
I thought I was prepared for the first question because it is a question that most people ask, and it seems like such an easy one to answer: “Tell me about yourself.” Who doesn’t know the answer to that question better than me right? However, in some odd way, it totally caught me off-guard. After I told him what I thought he wanted to know, he then asked me, “Now that you told me everything that I can already read on the resume, I am going to ask you again. Tell me about yourself.” Why was he asking me this again? My confidence dropped! I became unglued and answered the other questions as best as I could. I was sure he would see that I was motivated and capable and that I am a pretty likable person. I was surprised when he called me four days later and told me that decided to hire someone else. What a blow to my self-esteem!
Luckily, the interviewer took the time to give me feedback (something that doesn’t happen much today) and I learned a lot of tips that I still use—both about being interviewed (since we are being interviewed in some way, shape, or form with everyone you meet) or interviewing candidates for job openings, which is part of my work.
What is an interview?
An interview is a two-way process. Although you think you really want the job, how do you really know until you also start “interviewing” them? This is your opportunity to learn about future co-workers, company values, expectations.
One of the last questions an interviewer usually asks is: “Do you have any questions?” Don’t think you know it all and say “no”! By saying no, the interviewer will also think you’re not interested. But asking a question that can be easily found on their website can be a deal breaker, so do your research! The questions you ask will show your motivation and that you are thorough and have given this interview some time and effort.
I truly believe everyone can find a job, but to find a job that fits your personality, goals and objectives takes some research and preparation. It’s all worth it, of course!