If you want to be good at anything, it takes practice and that includes preparing for interviews. You must craft your STAR stories and practice your responses to interviewing questions.
Q1 Interviewer: “Why did you leave your last employer?”
Response from candidate #1: “I was laid off.”
Your response as candidate #2: “ I enjoyed working for the ZYX company for 2 (5, 8, 15, etc.) years. I started as a Customer Service Representative and worked my way up to the Customer Service Manager in 4 years. I worked well with my team and the management staff. Last year, the company lost its largest account and decided to downsize. I was in the third and last reduction in force. When I left, only the maintenance people were there to keep the pipes from freezing.
Evaluate: Who will stand above the competition, who will be remembered?
Tip: Answer questions in paragraphs, not sentences. Paint a picture with your responses to be considered for the second interview.
Q2 Interviewer: “What are three strengths that you bring to the position?”
Tip: Answer with three strengths from the job requirements, using metrics, written using STAR – Situation, Task, Action, Result. Keep in mind the three reasons you are being hired:
- Make money for your new employer
- Save money for your new employer
- Save time for your new employer
Q3 Interviewer: “What would you consider your greatest accomplishment, so far, in your career?”
Tip: Your response should match any of the job requirements, using metrics, written using STAR – Situation, Task, Action, Result. You should have at least five accomplishment stories matching five different job requirements.
Q4 Interviewer: “Where do you expect to be with our company in the next three years?”
Tip: You want to learn everything there is to know about the position. You are looking to become a bottom-line contributor to the company and become known as a corporate asset as soon as possible.
Q5 Interviewer: “Why should I hire you? Why do you feel you are more qualified for this position than your competitor? What are you bringing to this position?”
Tip: Draw a “T” on a blank page. On the left side, write out job requirements. On the right side, write out and script work-related experiences or transferrable skills using STAR – Situation, Task, Action, Result.
Tip: Practice interview questions into a mirror, into a voice or video recorder, or practice with a friend or family member. Practice until you can respond in a conversational tone, with passion and motivation. Pretend you are in show business.
Q6 Interviewer: “What questions do you have for me?”
Tip: Respond in the following manner. Yes, I have a few questions for you, but before I get to those, “Do you have any hesitation about my qualifications for this position?”
Then follow up with 3-7 questions about the job itself.
Q7 Interviewer: “What is one thing your former manager asked you to improve upon?”
Tip: State the weakness and the recovery.
Q8 Interviewer: “What would your co-workers say about you?”
Tip: Organized, problem solver, and friendly.
Q9 Interviewer: “Have you gotten angry at work?”
Tip: Use STAR – Situation, Task, Action, Result, and respond that you are a good listener, you compromise when necessary, you seek suggestions, and if this fails, you bring the problem to management.
Q10 Interviewer: “What are your salary expectations?”
Tip: Can you share with me what is budgeted for this position? If pushed, have a range in mind.
On Fridays, from 9-11 AM EST, join Les Segarnick for a free workshop on Interviewing Techniques, currently run via Zoom. Register at http://bit.ly/WayneFri9a and also on the meetup of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group at https://www.meetup.com/Philadelphia-Area-Great-Careers-Group/. You must be a meetup member before you can RSVP.
Les Segarnick (The Interview Doctor) is an accomplished recruitment expert, volunteer, and instructor. He has established himself as a well-respected advisor to professionals seeking new job opportunities. Since retiring as President and Owner of Action Employment Services, a national recruiting firm that he owned and led for more than three decades, Les has focused his efforts on sharing his knowledge and expertise in the areas of interview techniques and job search strategies through a wide array of volunteer activities. He is currently serving as a facilitator of multiple career development and job search workshops in Montgomery County, PA, and regularly spends time conducting one-on-one practice interviews with people in job transition, at no charge.
Les has also lectured in a variety of classroom settings on such topics as elevator pitch, resume critique, interview techniques, job search strategies, networking, and the importance of using keywords . He has spoken to Juniors and Seniors at the Fox School of Business at Temple University on job and internships searches.
Through his experience as a hands-on owner of a national recruiting firm, Les was personally involved in more than 3,500 job placements and over 1000 practice interviews. His company specialized in engineering, sales, and marketing, and successfully placed professionals throughout Western New York and around the country. Known as the “The Interview Doctor,” his motto is “Ask Me How I Make a Difference.”