Sep 19, 2012 0 Share

Developing Interview Skills

Three businessmen in a meeting; two shaking hands.

In my previous column, I mentioned that I had recently bought some books about job interviews which I was going to look through to acquire some vital information on the best method for conducting myself during an interview. After reading through some of this material, though, I now realize that there is much more I need to be concerned with in terms of my preparation. I find myself completely rethinking my original approach to handling the interview process.

One of the things the authors and I agree on is that it is ultimately advantageous to the interviewee to be honest. If something appears on my resume that the interviewer wants to know more about, I need to be able to back up what has been written with related facts and details. I had assumed that honesty would play a significant role in a job interview even before I had seriously considered what I would do during an interview, and I was delighted to find that this assumption was well-founded. 

The interviewee must also make great compromises in some respects, however. If certain experiences, viewpoints, skills, or habits are not appropriate for the position or do not reflect the company’s ideals, they should be left unspoken or de-emphasized in favor of aspects which are more suited to the position or company. “Little white lies” are never permissible, but I was surprised to learn that being selective with what truths one emphasizes is considered vital to an interviewee. I would be quick to add that any negative traits should be corrected or abandoned in order to become more productive and valuable to the employer, but I was surprised that this was not emphasized more strongly in my reading material.

Another trait recommended is a strong dedication to the company with which you are employed, and it is repeatedly emphasized that the answers you give during an interview should reflect interest in the company and its operations. The examples given in my reading material seem to indicate that you should display a willingness to pour your heart and soul into working for the company that has hired you. I already have a full understanding of this particular point because I feel this kind of loyalty every time I write a column for this publication. I try to write about each subject I am covering fully and coherently, and I submit each column within my deadline for publication. I know that I have a responsibility toward you, the reader, and to this publication.

An additional trait which the materials state is considered highly desirable by virtually all employers is the ability to cooperate with one’s co-workers. In addition to the obvious need for teamwork, the interviewee should demonstrate a willingness to take on extra work should another co-worker encounter illness or another complication which prevents him or her from working. I recognize the value of such skills because I experienced their usefulness firsthand during a team project in one of my college classes. Some of the team members had other obligations which occasionally prevented them from participating in the project in a timely manner. On these occasions, the other team members and I stepped up and pitched in to keep the project moving. We eventually completed the project and submitted it before it was due.

I noticed that many of the examples for good answers during an interview were of such a nature that a large amount of work experience was used to relay how a person could be of value to the new company. I do not have a lot of work-related experience to draw upon, however, so I was also glad to learn that there were a number of education-related examples I could draw from. These took the form of anecdotes about classes and other academic experiences which demonstrated key assets employers look for. As I looked over these examples, I was relieved to know that I could utilize my own college experiences to help me through the interview process.

In my research, I have come to realize that job interviews can serve as a self-evaluation of one’s character and ability to work effectively. I plan on going to a local job fair at the end of the month to learn more about job interviews and hopefully obtain some more material on effectively preparing for interviews. I want to make sure I have all of my bases covered.

As I continue my efforts researching how to prepare for any future job interviews, I hope to address problem areas and accentuate others that I have already mastered. I know I have more to learn and more steps to complete such as practice interviews and more effective communication skills. I want to be able to present myself as a potential employee an interviewer could trust and a valuable asset to any company. I think a good performance in a job interview can also reflect a well-balanced skill set in which one is prepared for anything, so I will strive to do my best.