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.
Consider an answer to this question: Why are you a good fit for the job? The best person will still have to explain who they are to a hiring manager, and a hire isn’t guaranteed.
Before you go in for the interview, the first thing to do is to read the job posting. Look at each of the duties and identify the personality traits, skills, and experience necessary to match the description. Don’t go in cold, practice with mock interview software online, and read on.
Sample Job Search
For example, a job search for an administrative assistant may describe a few of the job responsibilities as:
Send and receive correspondences
Monitor and record expenditures
Create expense spreadsheets
Plan board meetings and luncheons
Store, organize and manage files
Sample Job Qualifications
Here are a few potential skills required for this position:
Technical competencies in Microsoft Office
Attention to detail
Excellent planning skills
Remarkable organizational ability
Now, connect how each skill benefits the company and explain how you demonstrated this ability in the past with a solid answer for each question. 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. All of these ideas need to be in your answer.
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 with each answer you give. Your “sales pitch” is designed to convince them that it is in their best interest to hire you.
How to Answer
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 answer. 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:
"From what you've said and the research that I’ve done, your company is seeking a project manager who is a strong leader and has excellent planning skills. My experience makes me a strong fit for this position.
I previously managed a team of 10 junior staff members. I was able to clearly define the project scope and coordinate efforts to stay on the project schedule. As with most jobs, there were deadlines. My team collaborated well, and we successfully stayed within budget while exceeding the project objectives."
"From what you've said and the research that I have done, your company is seeking a social media manager who takes the initiative and has SEO knowledge. My experience makes me a strong fit for this position.
I have created webpages and wrote content for my last job's website. In fact, I took the lead in creating a regular publishing schedule. One of my main goals is the development of brand awareness and its online reputation. My team designed a social media marketing plan to help target the right customers."