Nowadays it’s rare to sit for an interview as part of a college admission. Only a handful of schools bother anymore, mostly because they just get too many applicants for it to be practical. Being interviewed, however, is still a part of life, because it’s still a key method in the hiring process. Yes, we’re talking about the dreaded job interview, source of so much fear, anxiety and downright panic. 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 every aspect of the interview process. But here’s a tip that cuts to the heart of all of it: 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?”
It’s a pretty devastating question. It’s also kind of a test. Basically you need 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.
When you think about all the questions that get asked at an interview, most of them boil down to this one, brutal, horrifying 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 how 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, but that’s all right. What 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. Yes, it’s difficult and a lot of work. But once you’ve really explored your insides, so to speak, you’ll be able to march into that interview and not only 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.
Now go get ‘em!