The Interview, It’s Not As Bad As It Seems

interviewAbout that job interview…

By Holly A. Bell

More 20 years ago I applied for a state job. The job required a prequalifying test, which I took and ranked #1 out of something like 300 people who took it. That earned me an interview. I was very enthusiastic about the potential job, but I was young and still relatively inexperienced with interviewing for any job that didn’t require scooping ice cream or running a cash register. It was my first “professional” interview and I bombed it. Big time. I had the firm handshake, the posture, the eye contact, but was completely unprepared for the questions. I swore I’d never let that happen again and began to educate myself on interviewing skills.

I came across an article this week from Forbes that does a great job outlining the three basic interview questions everyone asks. It really articulates in a very succinct way everything I’ve ever learned about interviewing, both as an interviewer and an interviewee. If you can answer these, you will be fine. They include:

  • Can you do the job? These are the questions where they try to determine your strengths and skills. If you can define for yourself exactly how your specific skills and abilities meet the job requirements before the interview, you should nail this one.
  • Will you love the job? These are the motivation questions. Before the interview consider why you want the job, why it will give you enjoyment, and how hard you are willing to work to keep it.
  • Can we tolerate working with you? These are the “fit” questions. The potential employer attempts to determine if you will complement the organization’s behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values, and environment. If you can speak with someone who works (or has worked) there you might be able to get some some great insights into this one.

If you can’t answer these questions, the job might not be right for you anyway. In hindsight the job I was applying for probably wouldn’t have been a good fit for me anyway. Perhaps I really didn’t bomb the interview, I simply sorted myself out. Nonetheless, it’s never too early or too late to work on your interview skills. It also strikes me that this would be a great exercise for students (and others) to go through when trying to decide on a career path. Can you answer the interview questions for the career field you are considering pursuing?

Updates on This Week’s Articles

It was an interesting week for www.professorhollybell.com full of discussions with people around the world. This week’s articles were posted on several LinkedIn forums generating vigorous debate. On the topic of the U.S. manufacturing industry, many suggestions, counter-suggestions, optimisms, and skepticisms were presented in The Economist readers forum. The conclusion?  It doesn’t look good for the U.S. manufacturing sector. As one gentleman from Australia said: “If we can’t find the answer, perhaps that is the answer. The market has decided”. The “we” he is referring to were the people throughout the world debating the solution from many different angles in the forum. While the gentleman from Australia has given up, the forum debate continues and others remain more optimistic.

The Economy forum discussed the Keystone Pipeline issue with some enthusiasm. One reader with environmental concerns suggested the pipeline was not necessary as trains could be used to transport oil. It struck me that both pipelines and trains were containers subject to leaks and that a moving container (a train) would be more susceptible to incidents than a fixed container (a pipeline). Another reader was able to find a statistic that showed the ratio of train incidents to pipeline incidents was nearly 50 to 1. Sounds like a great case for a pipeline to me even though I understand the concerns with the current route. So, at the end of the week I remain pro-U. S. Manufacturing (for a variety of reasons that go beyond the economic) and pro-pipeline (for many of the same reasons). Although I’m not sure most people noticed my concern.

Have a great weekend everyone and remember it’s never too early to start preparing for your next job interview!

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