Okay, so now you’re fresh out of school, and ready to pound the pavement seeking a career path. Unfortunately, you have never, or rarely ever been to a professional interview, so what can you expect? Let’s discuss some tips and possible scenarios that can assist you as you begin the interview process.
First off, unless you are unlike the majority of people, you will be a bit nervous when it comes to interviews. That is fine if you use it to your advantage. Like adrenaline, being nervous can be funneled into giving you an edge, as long as you do not let it overwhelm your thoughts. If you haven’t had much experience with interviews, preparing ahead of time will help channel those nerves into a competitive edge.
Start off by finding some practice interview questions and practice, practice, practice. Of course, when it comes to interviews and more, Nexxt offers a wealth of information and tips for what to do and what not to do during the interview process. Preparation means doing the homework, and reading through as much of these types of tips, making notes on where you feel you are the weakest, and then focusing on those areas can be a big help in being more in control. For instance, read one of my previous articles and be prepared for one very common question that tends to trip most people up.
Some of the more frequently asked questions that you need a great answer to may include:
What have been your achievements to date? – Obviously you are a new graduate, which by this point the interviewer knows, so they are not expecting you to have done a whole lot. However, you must turn your little bit into a way to shine and show what your past has been accomplishing. School awards, major accomplishments in skills related to the position, or other related side-work should be discussed. Know ahead of time what kinds of skills the position requires and be prepared to sell yourself with whatever prior related accomplishments you have in those areas.
Tell me about a prior difficult situation, and what you did to overcome it. – If possible, keep the story focused on a scenario related to the career field. But if that is not possible, it is fine to make it just a learning experience for you. Also, if possible, try to stay away from stories that originated as your fault. The goal here is for the interviewer to get a brief understanding on what you consider a difficult situation and how you dealt with and overcame it. Describe the scenario and how you identified the problem as well as the steps you took to resolve the issue. End your story by showing the impact it had on you and what you learned from it. Every difficult situation should be turned into a learning, life, or attitude altering experience.
What are your strengths/weaknesses? – These are very standard, and knowing how to answer them ahead of time is the best practice. Thinking on your feet is rarely a good decision. Know what you want to say, and practice it so you can answer properly. Write down what you would consider five of your greatest strengths. Want a more honest opinion? Ask close friends or co-workers what they think are your strengths/weaknesses. These can be actual skills or simply related to your personality. Motivated, confident, organized – these are all positive traits. Whatever traits you give, just be sure you can demonstrate why they are beneficial to the position.
For weaknesses, never go with things like “I’m a perfectionist,” it is too cliché, overplayed, and unbelievable. Feel free to take a personality trait as a weakness, as long as you twist it to show that in the end, it can be used as strength on the job. For instance, maybe you lack patience. Use that to show how your lack of patience means that when it comes to inefficiency on the job, you do not stand for it and are quick to address and deal with it. Your personality weakness is now a positive job trait.
The amount of examples can go on and on, and it is always a best practice to read up on as many of these tips as possible and practice as much as you can. It will assist in calming those nerves, help to open areas of questioning that you may not have considered and give you a more confident overall approach to the whole job searching task.
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