Friday, January 16, 2015

How to interview for a job

Every year, I provide some type of coaching and mentoring to our graduating student workers, and friends and peers, to help them prepare their resumes and cover letters. In years past, I have also conducted practice interviews, simulating a variety of interviewers they may face (the yes/no questioner, the too-talkative interviewer, and so on) and how to successfully work around that.

While preparing for a friend, I came across an excellent piece by Tania Seary: "My 5 killer job interview questions." Here are Seary's moments that make or break candidates:
  1. The tipping point question: “What were the reasons for leaving your current job?”
  2. The leader question: “Tell me about something you’ve led – a group, a team, a movement, an initiative…any situation where you were in the lead?”
  3. The mentor question: “Tell me about some people you’ve mentored and what they are doing now?”
  4. The question question: “Do you have any more questions?”
  5. The one-word question: “If your friends could summarise you in one word, what would that word be?”
I recommend you start by reflecting on your leadership journey, about your career highlights. If you are a student, you might instead consider your education journey: what have you learned during your time at university. What projects or assignments worked well for you, and which projects or assignments were more challenging? I find it's most helpful to focus on the peaks and valleys on the timeline: the moments that seemed to be turning points. You may prefer to highlight other points that are similar to each other, and that's okay too. By reflecting on your journey, you will be better prepared to recall them during your interview.
photo: John Benson

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