Nowadays it’s rare to sit for an interview as part of the college admissions process. Only a handful of schools still interview potential student applicants, mostly because they just get too many applicants for it to be practical. Being interviewed, however, is still an important part of life, because fortunately it’s a key method in the hiring process. Yes, we’re talking about the dreaded job interview, a source of fear and anxiety. It needn’t be something to dread — in fact, with the proper preparation, believe it or not, a job interview can be something to look forward to. It can be your time to shine!
The web is full of advice on the sorts of questions you can be expected to ask, and how you should answer them. There are tips on what to wear, on shaking hands, on eye contact, on every aspect of the interview process. But here is advice that cuts to the heart of all of it: to what all those questions are really asking.
Imagine you sit down before a manager whose job it is to find out what they can about you and decide whether you’re a good fit for the position. You’re nervous and fidgety, expecting to be asked about your resume or your work experience. Then you get hit by this one: “I’ve interviewed a dozen people today, some of them with more experience than you have. So why should I hire you instead of them?”
This question could be devastating. It’s also kind of a test. It’s asking you to justify yourself in a very serious way. You have to say more than just “I’m going to work hard” or “I’m trustworthy.”
You have to be able to talk about yourself with self-awareness, confidence, and especially what makes you unique, what makes you — well, you. These are what I call your “Power Words.”
When you think about all the questions that get asked at an interview, most of them boil down to this one key question. Just why should you be hired? What is it that you want out of life? Not just out of one job at one employer, but life? What is your relationship with society, and what do you wish to contribute to the world? What are your values? In a crowd of people, how do you stand out? What makes you special? Just who are you, exactly?
Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy solution we can give you to begin to identify your Power Words. First you need to do is get to know yourself, search your heart and soul, find out who you really are and what you’re all about. What I suggest is to first begin to write down words that are important to you, that describe YOU. Once you’ve really explored your insides, thought long and hard about what makes you, YOU, gone over your Power Words and formulated your strengths, you’ll be able to march into that interview and answer all their questions with a clear voice and a confident gaze. Not only will you be in a better position to get that job, you really will stand out from the rest of the applicants because you will shine with a sense of confidence and strength.