Kool Derby

You know the importance of putting your best foot forward when preparing for your next interview. Unfortunately, many candidates disqualify themselves by saying the wrong thing, or asking inappropriate questions.

You might be the most qualified person for the job, but if you lack interviewing skills, you will be eliminated. Knowing what to say is just as important as describing the attributes that make you a right fit for the position.

As the job candidate, it’s important to know the “hot buttons” of the person who is interviewing. In other words, the first round of interviewing is usually done by an HR-type who is mostly interested in whether or not you have the basic skills required for the job. In other words, they want to know if you possess the years of experience in the industry, educational requirements, supervision expectations, and professional certifications. Your approach during this interview is more matter-of-fact. You want to show enthusiasm, to be sure, but the focus is more on the “hard” qualifications.

When you meet with the departmental manager, or with those individuals who might become co-workers, you take a difference approach. In this case, you want to demonstrate your team skills, knowledge of the particular work requirements, and your ability to work under pressure.

#1: Avoid asking too many questions.

The interview is not the right setting for you to become a chatterbox. Instead, you want to be an active listener. Look for opportunities to ask questions, but avoid taking the approach that you are at “Happy Hour.” Most employers have a feeling that an over-talkative person is usually masquerading a deficiency. In other words, the person talks about taking action, but hardly ever carries through with the activities. In other words, “Big hat, no cattle.”

#2: You can’t think of any weaknesses.

Surprisingly, I’ve interviewed candidates who tell me they can’t think of any immediate weaknesses, but when “something comes to mind,” they will let me know. Of course, we know this is a trick interview question that is designed to weed out those who think they are better than the rest. Even if you don’t think you have any discernible weaknesses, make something up!

All joking aside, you do have weaknesses, and they can be shared as follows:

  • “It’s sometimes difficult for me to delegate work to others. Given that I know my work so well, I want to focus on making sure it exceeds expectations.”
  • “I would like to improve my education. I will find time to earn my MBA here soon.”
  • “I can be detailed-oriented. I want to ensure that we are constantly focusing on meeting the quality requirements.”

Most of you know the technique I used here. I stated my weakness in a positive way. Your employer will appreciate this creative approach, even if part of it relates to excellent interviewing skills.

The majority of us can find work here and there. However, the procurement of excellent positions requires that you are smart about what you do and say during an interview. You must find that balance between confidence, competence, and humility. When you do, you will soon be making the final round in the selection process, which means that your dream job is right around the corner.