Skills to impress Interviewer in Job Interview
In this article you learn how to impress the interviewer by proving your skills and abilities through the use of examples of past performance.
For those of us who are on the shy and quiet side, interviews can be very frustrating experiences. We need to tell the interviewer how good we are and how hard we work, yet we just can't seem to make any of the words come out of our mouths in a convincing fashion. We want to make the interviewer believe in our ability, yet we don't have the skills and panache to be convincing and persuasive.
There is, however, one foolproof way to convince a potential employer of your skills and qualities. It does not involve undue amounts of charisma nor elocution skills. It involves only one artifice: the use of examples.
How do you convince a potential employer that you have the skills and traits she is looking for? The secret to an impressive interview is the ability to prove your strengths and skills through examples of past performance.
Anyone can say the words, "I am a leader," or "I am creative," but only the people who really are those things can provide examples from their experience to back these words. The interviewer draws conclusions about how successfully you can use your skills to achieve results for him on the basis of your past accomplishments and experiences.
Prove the Right Thing
It is of no use to spend the entire interview convincing a potential employer that you are full of creativity when creativity is not important to him. Spend your time with the interviewer wisely by emphasizing the skills you have that relate to the job at hand.
Before answering any questions, such as "Tell me about yourself," or "Why do you think you are right for this job?" ask the interviewer to tell you a bit about the position she is trying to fill. This is certainly a legitimate question on your part, asked so that you have a better understanding of the position before you begin answering questions. You can explain to the interviewer, If you feel you should, that having a description of the position will allow you to answer her questions in a more targeted fashion. This way, you can get a feel for the skills that will be most useful for performing the job successfully, and you can spend your time emphasizing those.
Exercise 1: Answering Questions with Examples of Experience
Try answering the following questions using examples from your own experience.
Read the sample answers for ideas.
"What are Your Greatest Strengths?"
Poor Answer: Well, I feel I'm very tenacious. I can stick to a project even when the going gets tough.
Comments: In the answer above, the job candidate used the right kind of words in her answer: Tenacity is a personality trait that any potential employer eagerly listens for. Her mistake was in the way she presented her case, or lack thereof. What she told the interviewer was not in the least bit convincing. You must realize that most interviewers expect to hear pretty words. But they won't believe them unless you prove your case with examples.
Great Answer: One personal trait I've found very useful in my years as a sales manager is my tenacity. In one case in particular, this paid off very well. I had been trying to get my foot in the door with A.P. Robs Company and had been finding them very inaccessible. After countless phone calls and fruitless visits, I continued to pursue them. Finally, I ran into a key player for Robs at an association meeting. I sat next to him at the luncheon and managed to weave in some business talk along with the casual. In the following weeks, I landed a contract with Robs worth $16 million to the company.
Comments: In-her second answer, the job candidate does prove her case. She introduces the word tenacity as one of the skills she ranks as a greatest strength, and then goes on to explain how she has used this skill to achieve results. In this case, the interviewer can draw his own conclusions about the job applicant from the information he's been given through her use of examples. From this particular story, the interviewer sees a potential employee who is motivated, tenacious, clever, determined, confident, and a good persuader.
"Why should we hire you?"
Poor Answer: I'm dedicated, and I can work hard even through tough situations.
Comments: Again, nice words in the first answer, but no persuasive proof to back the words up.
Great Answer: You'll find that I am a dedicated worker even when the going gets tough. In this most recent year at school, for example, I had a heavy class load of 21 credit hours plus a 30-hour per week job to help 'me pay for school. During this time I chaired a committee to redesign a student quad on the central campus and earned additional credits as a student assistant in the business school. All the while, I kept my focus on my studies and maintained a 3.5 grade point average.
Comments: The job candidate's second answer is much more effective and convincing than the first because the example she uses helps the interviewer to arrive at her own positive conclusions about the applicant. The interviewer can see that the candidate is hardworking, motivated, a leader, resourceful, and intelligent.
Exercise 2: Matching Your Experiences to Skills
Try to come up with stories from your own experience that demonstrate, through example, the fact that you possess the following personality traits or skills. It is better to relate clear, interesting illustrations from your professional experience, but stories from your personal background can be just as effective. You may be able to refer to the exercise you completed in Lesson 2, "Evaluating Skills."
1. Hardworking: Was there a time in your career that you were challenged by a particularly difficult project that required extra energy to complete? Describe it.
2. Persuasive: Have you ever had to overcome resistance and convince someone that a project should be completed differently or a problem should be handled in a different way? Describe it.
3. Self-motivated: Have you ever taken on a project on your own initiative or gone beyond the call of duty in a certain situation? Describe it.
4. Leadership: Have you coordinated a program or managed a group of people on a project? Describe it.
5. Creativity: Are you the type who likes to design or invent? Have you ever visualized creative ways to improve efficiency? Describe a time that your creativity lead to a new or improved product.