Career Resources

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Land your dream job by tailoring your interview answers

Most students know that when they write a cover letter, they need to match their skills and qualifications to the job or internship requirements. Each cover letter needs to be carefully crafted and individually tailored for the specific position. So, too, with the job interview. In preparing your answers for an upcoming interview, you need to frame all of your answers in relation to the position at hand.

Let me give you an example. I recently conducted a mock interview with a student who was interviewing for an internship at a French-based fashion company in New York City. Not once during the interview did she mention that she was in the university's fashion club or the fact that she spoke French or that she had organized fashion shows as fundraisers during her high school years. Yet, she should have mentioned all of these things when I said to her, "So tell me a little bit about yourself." By stating all of the things in your life that are relevant to a given position, it shows the interviewer that you have a history of interest in the field and that you are passionate about it. Employers love to see that.

Here's another example. If you were to go on an interview for an accounting internship and the interviewer said, "What do you feel are your major strengths or skills?" you would want to gear them to the position. You wouldn't say that you're a great writer, or that you're creative, or that you can speak another language. While these are all wonderful skills, they aren't relevant for this particular position. A great way to plan this answer is to look at the job description beforehand and the qualifications the employer is looking for in a candidate. For an accounting position, they're probably looking for someone who is organized, detail-oriented, and analytical so these are the skills you should highlight in this answer.

Likewise, when the interviewer asks you, "So, tell me, what is your greatest weakness?" it can't be something that would make you a poor fit for the job. For example, if you were interviewing for a position that involved a lot of customer interaction, you wouldn't want to say that you often lose your temper with impatient people. If this statement is true about you, then you probably need to be looking for some other kind of work.

Lastly, when the interviewer asks what your future plans are, they should be related to the job you're interviewing for. Let's say you're interviewing for a marketing position. Then you shouldn't say that your future career goal is to be an investment banker. It just doesn't make sense and the interviewer will be questioning why you're even there in the first place. The exception to this rule would be if you're a freshman or sophomore and are exploring careers and testing out your options.

By precisely targeting your answers to match the job or internship requirements, you'll increase your chances of landing your dream job by successfully answering the ultimate question, "Why should we hire you?"

1 comment:

Tips on Interview said...

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