While at first interviews can definitely seem stressful and intimidating with a bit of practice and preparation interviews can quickly become an exciting and maybe even an enjoyable part of the application process. The interview is your chance to tell your story, your chance to help your reviewer connect and contextualize all of your experiences so that they can understand who you really are and what you’re all about. So without further ado let’s dive into some tips and tricks to help you begin to master the art of the interview!
Let’s start with the most common opening question: “Walk me through your resume.”
Because you know you are likely going to be asked this question you should definitely have a pre-thought answer. One general interview tip is that you never want to sound robotic or rehearsed, but you also don’t want to sound disorganized or scatterbrained in your thinking so it’s great to give these questions some thought prior to the interview. I like to have a good idea of what I’d like to say but would recommend shying away from having anything memorized word for word, because remember interviews are meant to be a conversation. Okay, so back to the question: “Walk me through your resume,” the key for this one is to have an logically organized and easy to follow approach to literally walking the interviewer through each of your various and relevant experiences all the while crafting a story of how they have all culminated to bring you to where you are today, sitting before them, in this interview for (X) job/opportunity. I like to think of this question as three questions in one, what they’re saying is “walk me through your resume” but what they’re implicitly asking is 1) why do you want them? And 2) why should they want you? Given that this is typically the first question you’ll be asked, it’s extra important because it can do a lot to set a positive tone for the entire interview if done well.
Here are two other classic behavioral questions that it would be helpful to think about before heading into the interview, along with a few tips for how best to handle them!
What’s your greatest strength?
A key to interviews and storytelling in general is that it is always more powerful to show than to tell. Don’t just tell your interviewer you’re motivated tell them a short but specific story that shows them how motivated you really are. Having a brief story to accompany your answers is a great way to really drive home whatever point you’re making.
What’s your greatest weakness?
This one can be a bit tricky because you obviously want to portray yourself positively but need to be honest (and saying that you have no weaknesses is definitely not honest). So for this one I often opt for the approach of taking a strength and spinning it as a type of weakness that I am currently working on improving (ie. “I am overly excited by new opportunities and always want to be involved with everything around me which can potentially lead me to being over extended, so I am now making the conscious effort to carefully select and prioritize the endeavors that I choose to dedicate myself to so that I can ensure that I can give each of them 100% of the effort and attention that they deserve”).
My last piece of advice is to be confident! If you don’t believe in yourself it is really hard to convince someone else that they should believe in you. So before I head into an interview I always remind myself that there’s no one better to tell my story than me, which allows me to walk into the room with true confidence because I know that I know my story better than anyone else ever could.
These are just a few of the tips that have served me well over the years, I hope they’re helpful, and I wish you the best luck in all of your future interview endeavors!!!
By Courtney Bowen