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Barring extraordinary circumstances, like natural disaster or getting married, not many situations are more intimidating than a job interview. There are a few things, however, you can count on to help you get through. First remember that the person doing the interviewing probably finds the process as intimidating as you. Second, be prepared.
Being prepared used to be simpler. You were expected to dress appropriately, have good communication skills and follow basic interviewing rules. (Arrive on time, make eye contact, etc.) If you were a real self-starter, you probably did some research on the company and were ready to answer the most commonly asked questions. (Things like “Why should we hire you?”)
If you haven’t looked for a job in a while, however, you may not be prepared for a newer process: the behavioral interview. This method is used to predict how well you will be able to perform on-the-job.
Behavioral interviewing is based on the idea that your past behaviors will likely be repeated under similar circumstances. For instance, if you’ve been able to motivate your current sales staff, you will probably be able to motivate another sales staff. Examples from your past, give a potential employer the opportunity to predict your future performance in comparable situations.
In behavioral interviewing, each candidate is asked the same set of questions. Questions that were designed to find out if an applicant has exhibited the behaviors an employer is looking for in a previous setting. During the process, interviewees are asked to give examples of how they’ve handled several different work situations. For ease of comparison, most interviewers will rate the candidate’s on a pre-determined scale using numbers or grades such as good, average or bad.
Generally, candidates are asked an open-ended question which may begin with “Can you give me an example of . . . ” or “Tell me about a time when you . . .” What the employer is looking for is what you did in a similar situation and what were the results of your actions. Depending on the job, the questions may cover a number of areas including: your relationship building/communication skills; problem -solving abilities; values and work ethic; and management experience.
If you haven’t encountered behavioral interviewing yet, you probably will in the near future. Because it gives employers a good indication of future behaviors, the use of behavioral interviewing is on the rise. So get ready.
Before you go to your next job interview take an inventory of your skills. Write down your five to ten strongest abilities. Make sure you include any skills you think are relevant to the position you’re interviewing for. Once you have this list, come up with at least one concrete example that demonstrates each skill. If, for instance, you have great interpersonal skills, have an example of how you negotiated a deal or developed a relationship or got your team to compromise.
Interviewing is a difficult process for employers and applicants alike. You are trying to land the job. And the employer is trying to determine who is the best person to handle it. If you can show the employer your talent, make her see that you have the abilities needed to do the job; the more likely it is you’ll be hired.