Good interviewing skills are a critical component to your job search. Resumes get you interviews and interviews get you job offers! In order to prepare for interviews evaluate your related experience and skills, prepare examples to describe those qualifications, research the organization, consider your fit for the job and organization, and practice your interview skills.
Evaluate Your Related Skills and Experience
Review the job description and research the organization to better understand what the employer is seeking. Then, review your experience and skills to identify those things which best qualify you for the position. What is your best case for why the employer should hire you? How are you uniquely qualified for the job? What can you offer the organization? List your best qualifications and consider examples to describe those experiences and demonstrate relevant skills. Remember, proof is better than words. You "prove" your qualifications by providing detailed examples of when you demonstrated relevant skills. It's one thing to say "I'm a good leader." It's another to provide an example of your leadership skills in context.
Provide Examples; the STAR Method
Many employers utilize "behavioral interviewing," asking candidates to use examples to describe their skills and experience. One of the best strategies for organizing answers to these questions is the STAR method:
- Situation: Provide an overview of the situation and any important background information. Keep it short and simple.
- Task: Explain what you were trying to accomplish.
- Action: Describe the actions you took to address the situation. Give enough detail to explain what you did and why you did it. Use "I" statements to take credit for your contributions.
- Result: Describe the outcomes of your actions. Take credit for your accomplishments and acknowledge what you learned and how it might apply to the job at hand.
For more detail on the STAR Method, review our handout.
Research the Organization
Research is essential for good interview preparation. You can't demonstrate how you will fit in with an organization until you know something about the organization. Research also helps you evaluate if you want to work at an organization and determine questions you should ask in your interview. Check out this great guideline for company research at Quintessential Careers.
Practice Your Interviewing Skills
Practice makes perfect! Review common interview questions and consider how you would answer. Even practice out loud to ensure that you can answer concisely with confidence. To practice answering questions and receive constructive feedback to help you improve, schedule a mock interview with OCS.