A hiring manager does not want to hear generic answers, such as "I have good communication skills." or "I'm an excellent proposal writer." Instead, they want specific examples of how your particular skill set and work experience make you a good fit for the company.
Before you go in for the interview, the first thing to do is to read the job posting. Look at each of the job duties and identify the personality traits, skills, and experience necessary to match the job description.
For example, a job search for an administrative assistant may describe a few of the job responsibilities as:
Here are a few potential skills required for this position:
Now, connect how each skill benefits the company and explain how you demonstrated this ability in the past. This connection is where great preparation is crucial. Research the company you are applying for and read about their company objectives and agenda. For each skill, think of one specific time when you used this skill to solve a problem and reach a solution. Be sure to identify the problem, what you did, and the fantastic result.
Of course, it may be difficult to think of anecdotes to support your claim. However, answering this question with an example is vital. You need to show, not just tell, your interviewer how you are a great fit. Your "sales pitch" is designed to convince them that it is in their best interest to hire you.
Your response to the administrative position may be:
“From what you've said and the research that I’ve done, your company is seeking an administrative assistant who has excellent organizational skills and is comfortable with technology. My experience makes me a strong fit for this position.
I began using Microsoft Office at my last job. I created spreadsheets, accurately tracked expenses and data, and even generated analytic reports. My skills with the Microsoft suite have grown. I also used their premade templates to create professional looking and unique newsletters. I was very proud that we were able to start sending monthly newsletters to customers to keep them updated about our products.”
Even if you are a graduate fresh out of school, you can still offer a strong response. Consider how you used these skills in assignments that required teamwork, in your community service, or even at your after-school job. Don't memorize your stories and always keep them brief. The interviewer isn't an old friend where you can talk for hours about "old times."
Select one or two specific qualifies from the list of skills you created that are required for the job. Explain how this skill benefits the company. Have an idea of what you are going to say. Anecdotes are vital to set you apart from other job seekers.
Additionally, in every possible situation, highlight how unique you are as a candidate. What can you offer this company that other's can't? Most candidates will meet the basic qualifications for a position. However, if you possess skills that demonstrate that you show initiative and even traits for a more advanced position, use it.
For example, anyone can answer phones and send emails for that administrative assistant position. However, if you have can demonstrate skills, such as if you have had some project management experience, your ability to maintain schedules and meet deadlines is suddenly more attractive.
Here are some sample answers you can use to frame your own response:
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