Advice From the Expert: Interviewing 101

issue 01 | spring 2013

The cover letter and resume get you in the door, but here comes the fun part, the interview itself. Sure, it can be nerve-wracking, but if you've done your homework, you should be just fine. Here are tips to get you through the first meet-and-greet.

When demonstrating why you’d be a good fit for the position, make sure you use concrete examples of your work. Use statements such as, “As you can see from my resumé, I’ve had experience working with …” or “My background at Google is a good example of how I transformed the way people think about computers.” The more examples you use, the easier it is for the interviewer to see you in the position for which he or she is hiring.

Know where your weaknesses lie.  Saying you don’t have any weaknesses, or worse, that you share a weakness that isn’t work-related, may stop the interview in its tracks.  Think about a weakness that can be perceived as a strength. “I have a tendency to take on more than I should,” for example, covers an area of opportunity, while also revealing the fact that you have a strong work ethic.

You may be asked, “Why should we hire you over other candidates?”  Stop!  You can’t compare yourself to the other candidates.  What you can do is say, “I can’t speak to the skills of the other candidates, but I do know why I’m a good fit for this position.” Then begin to tell them how your skills and abilities will add to the bottom line.

Prepare questions. You’ll be spending 40 hours or more a week in this position, so there has to be something you want to know.  Don’t ask about benefits or salary and don’t ask any questions that could easily be answered in company literature or on its website. Ask about the culture, the team, and specifics about the work.

Practice with a colleague or trusted friend. If you make a mistake, it’s not like your job’s on the line.

Published March 2013