Guest Author - Dianne Walker
Have you ever walked confidently into an interview to find that you are stumped on question after question? It should all be so easy; after all you know the jobs you’ve worked at. You’ve also played every scenario in your mind about what they may ask. How is it that you could possibly be stumped by a question? The answer is simple; you need to not only know the skills required in a job, but also how to apply them in the workplace on a daily basis.
Let’s say, for example, you are applying for a job as an administrative assistance. What sets you apart from the other applicants for the position?
When you answer this question, keep in mind there are hundreds of other applicants who can type just as fast; who are familiar with the Microsoft Suite of products and a host of other hard skills. What truly sets you apart from the pack? The answer may be in how you handle stressful situations; this is the information you want to share. For example, the time an order came in from the vendor and it was all wrong. You knew that your boss needed the materials for an important meeting that afternoon. You spent the better part of the morning working with the vendor, not just on finding fault, but rather correcting the problem. You were finally able to obtain everything your boss needed in time for the meeting. In this example, you are displaying your research and problem solving skills. In other words, let me “show” you how I do it.
Let’s look at another example. Let’s say that you are applying for a customer service job. Tell me about a time you went over and above in satisfying a customer.
When you answer this question, steer away from the routine responses and the times you simply met the customer’s level of expectations. Talk about how you went above and beyond. The customer wanted a particular item of clothing in a particular size and your store didn’t carry it. Instead of giving the customer the phone number to the central office or another store, imagine that you called around to the other stores. Instead of just having it shipped to the store, you had it shipped to the customer’s house free of charge. If you couldn’t have it shipped to their house, you had it shipped to the store. You didn’t call the customer to come in and pick it up; you shipped it from the store to their house. This example shows how you not only met expectations, but went over and above to get it into the customer’s hand without any further inconvenience or effort on their part.
How does “showing” your ability to apply skills make for a successful interview? You will have effectively shown them proactive thinking and your ability to apply logic. The ability to take your skills and show how you apply them in situations that are important to potential employer will make a big difference in your next interview.