Job interviews can be damn intimidating. You spend ages psyching yourself up to even apply for the thing and then you get the call offering you an interview, go you!
Full disclosure; the first time I had a job interview (it was for a Brumby’s bakery you guys) was also the first time I discovered my body is capable of producing sweat from many new places, including, (but not limited to); the front of my shins and tops of my hands. I get how much of a challenge this can be.
However, the thing that got me through that interview, and all the ones since, was prep.
Even if you haven’t prepped for the questions you actually get asked, you’ll still have visualised yourself answering something and had a go at getting your words out straight… which is a massive win!
So here are some questions you might be asked, and how you might want to go about tackling them.
Q: Tell us about your strengths and weaknesses?
Do: BE HONEST. I mean, as honest as is appropriate for a professional setting. Spend some time prior to the interview reflecting on what you might bring to the job and what your personal challenges might be.
If you’re having some trouble maybe ask a friend or family member to tell you what they think your strengths and challenges might be. Remember to try and keep it relevant to the job.
For example, if it’s a customer service job, talk about how you love people and are friendly and social. If it’s a tech or digital job, talk about how you’re passionate about problem solving and detail. It’s likely that if you’re drawn to a job it suits your strengths in some way so bring them to the surface.
Don’t: Pretend you don’t have any weaknesses. It actually demonstrates that you have average self-awareness more than anything. If you’re struggling to come up with weaknesses that aren’t super private, try and think of a strength and flip it.
For example, if your strength is that you’re great at coming up with big ideas, the flip side might be that sometimes you aren’t as task or detail focused. You can talk about this with self-awareness and also talk about your own strategies for managing it, like ‘I sometimes struggle with details so I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping really good to-do lists and reviewing them before I begin my tasks each day’. Smoooooth.
Q: Tell us about how you work in a team?
Do: Think of a time you’ve worked in a team and use it as an example.
For example, ‘Last year when I was helping to organise our school art show I found that I played xxxx role for the group’.
Don’t: Give a wishy washy answer like ‘yeah, good’.
Think about the different roles you’ve played in groups throughout your life, even friend and family groups. Some roles might be; the clown, the leader, the peacekeeper, the logistics guru, the problem solver, the cheer squad. Have a think about what fits for you and come up with an example to illustrate it. It’ll be great!
Q: Tell us about a time you’ve overcome a challenge?
Do: Prep an example for this one, it’s great if it’s one that highlights your strengths.
For example, ‘When I was working on a group assignment we found that everyone was getting confused with emails going back and forth and people were starting to get frustrated. So I asked the group if they’d be willing to use a Google doc or Facebook group to get organised and everyone was on board. I set it up and left an initial post offering how we might want to use it and it worked really well’.
The above example highlights someone who is organised, perceptive and a leader, all good things.
Don’t: Say nothing. It might be tough to think of a challenge on the spot so don’t let it catch you off guard and make sure you prep for this question.
You can use whatever example you think will work. What you’re really trying to show the interviewer is that you can reflect and adapt when you need to.
Now, go out there and do the thing. You’re going to be great.