Show of hands please – who enjoys going to interviews? If you answered no, you’re not alone, but I’d like to ask why? You know yourself better than anyone and that means, you are the best person to sell yourself!
After all my years in the recruitment space, I’m still amazed at how many professionals I meet who struggle to describe their strengths or are unable to articulate a key achievement in such a way that grabs the interviewer’s attention. At the opposite end of the scale, there are those that go on and on to the point of no return, where the interviewer forgets the original question (or in some cases, wonders what they are having for lunch!)
When preparing for interviews, think about your experience, your achievements, the highs, and yes, the lows too. Be prepared to give examples for any behavioural questions that you will most probably be asked. Have well-structured answers in mind. Think about:
i) the situation and overall objectives
ii) the action you took that made the difference, and
iii) the outcome, ideally a positive one and how you were praised.
Sticking to this type of framework will help you keep your answers succinct and on point instead of waffling on and forgetting the point of your answer.
Another observation I’ve made is that candidate actions or recruitment behaviour, doesn’t align to the roles to which they are applying. For example, I recently advertised for a salesperson. The key criteria in the advertisement read, “must be hungry for the sale, show initiative and be self-driven”. Yet, after a few days, not one person had followed up their application! No one “sold” themselves to me and when I threw some objections their way, I didn’t hear any counter-selling techniques. Think seriously about the role you are wanting to be interviewed for. The interview process begins with the application – your cover letter and CV – not just when you’re sitting in front of the recruiter or hiring manager.
The lesson to take-away for those who don’t like interviews is this: be prepared. What relevant information can you share with the interviewer about you and your experience? Ensure you relate your answer to the advertised position. Think about examples of achievements that showcase your outstanding performance. Sell yourself – after all, only you know what makes you tick.