Hiring managers start with his question to gain a general sense of the candidate’s interview etiquette and professionalism, as well as qualifications for the job. However, for the one being interviewed, these four words have the potential to either cause panic or increase confidence as you think to yourself, “I’ve got this.”
What not to say
When interviewees are nervous and feel like everything is on the line, they will say almost anything to avoid awkward silence. They will share what they usually share in a social situation. That is, they will disclose their family status, family obligations, hobbies, social life, and favorite television programs. The truly clueless will start the interview on a downer and discuss frustrations after being laid-off or terminated from their last job. What job seekers need to understand is that such disclosures do not contribute to the purpose of the interview, which is to verify information you provided on your resumé and to become better acquainted with you as a prospective employee. For this reason, your response to this question must remain relevant to the job.
Start with research
First, research the open position by thoroughly reading the job announcement. Take note of the most important skills and requirements listed. The employer’s top candidate will possess these skills and meet or exceed the minimum requirements.
Second, research the company by visiting their web site. You should also read news articles about the company and reviews about their products and services.
Third, assess your skills and abilities and be prepared to articulate how they will benefit the employer. Do you have what the employer is seeking? If so, you must demonstrate it in your answer and be specific. You will cut the interview short and take yourself out of the running if you speak in vague generalities and say something like, “I’m a really friendly person and a very hard worker.”
Crafting your response
In preparation for the interview, develop your 60 second “Me” statement. The “Me” statement is a brief introduction, which highlights your specific knowledge, skills, abilities and personal traits that are relevant to the job. For the new college graduate, it is appropriate to mention courses you have taken in your major and what you have learned or mastered as a result of an internship experience. Career changers should focus on transferrable skills that are relevant to the job. For example, a retail associate with a knack for quickly learning product codes could effectively use the same skill in a medical billing and coding position. In either case, the most critical piece of information you can share does not focus on you, but rather on the employer’s needs, which you uncover in your research. Yes, the interviewer is interested in what you bring to the table, but more importantly they want to know how you can benefit the company.
The mere thought of having to participate in a job interview can make even the most experienced job seeker anxious. Fear comes from not knowing what to expect. The key is to equip yourself with effective strategies to help you answer the most frequently asked interview questions. Prepare now for your next interview and you will have the confidence it takes to result in an offer of employment.