January 7, 2019

Interview Tips, Part 1 - Land your dream job

Nadine C. North, Human Capital / Talent Science at The North Point
Written by:

Nadine C. North, Human Capital / Talent Science at The North Point

Interview Tips to Help Land your Dream Job

After our graduates complete our Business Science courses, we want to see them succeed in careers that they love. By using these tips, anyone can walk into an interview feeling confident, composed and excited for the opportunity.

First off, always try to ask the company questions first.  
  • How would they describe their business culture?
  • What is their ideal candidate?  
  • What types of characteristics succeed the best in their environment?
  • Why did they chose to join the company?

If you can’t ask them at the beginning of the meeting…try at the end. Or try to sprinkle in-between their questions. Their answers will give you clues for the tone of your answers to their questions.

To get the first shot at asking questions…here’s an example as you walk in the door

“Wow, this is a great office setting… how would you describe the company’s culture?"

Lets prepare for some of your typical Interview questions:

TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF.

Dangerously open-ended. However, keep it focused on business/education with a few personal items sprinkled in. The present-past-futureformula is a way to share key background points while ending on a high note.

  • Begin with a brief overview of where you are now (which could include your current job along with a reference to a personal hobby or passion)
  • Reference how you got to where you are (here you could mention education, or an important experience such as a past job, internship or volunteer experience)
  • Finish by touching on a goal for the future. Bonus points if you’re able to identify how their position aligns with how you envision your future.

Remember to be careful about what you include in your answer – avoid potentially controversial subjects such as politics and religion. You should also avoid talking too much about family responsibilities or hobbies that might make your interviewer wonder whether you could commit yourself 100% to the job. I once had a client who liked to hire mountain-climbers — they sought those risk-taking, high achievement, stress management skills. If you have a hobby that demonstrates high achievement, mention it.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST STRENGTH?

Key on items that match with the job.  

  • Attention to detail is always good, and applies to many disciplines.  
  • Meet deadlines.  
  • Accountable.  
  • Good team member, while happy working independently.  
  • Creative.
  • Problem-solver.
  • Managing stress and pressure.
  • Career orientated.

Yes, many of these are cliches, but they are the key characteristics of the best candidates.

In this category, you can tell a story where you used your strengths to overcome a difficult or stressful situation.

It’s always good to tell a story…have a short story on how you may have been promoted or singled out for praise given one of the attributes you’ve cited.  

TELL ME ABOUT A WEAKNESS.

This is a trap question. None of us are perfect. We are all human. And it is OK to mention this.  

Describe a weakness you’ve worked on to overcome and tell that story. You may be humble (a good trait), and say you have to keep "name the weakness" top of mind and work on it daily. Here are "mostly negatives" that are good positives…for example:

  • Perfectionism…There are many quotes about “perfection is the enemy of the good (enough)” This is an on-going struggle with getting initiatives out the door. You may say that you ensure that the premise is sound, no typos, formatting good — and go. Check out these quotes.
  • Impatience…Being so excited about an initiative, have to slow down to ensure your team members have bought in and are on board.  
  • Overall, being self-aware is the trait an interviewer or manager seeks. So tell the story that you’re self-aware.  

Good luck!


Nadine C. North
The North Point
Human Capital / Talent Science
www.thenorthpoint.net


Stay tuned, we are rolling out Part 2 next week, in the meantime check out our latest blogs here!


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