How Do Your Interview Skills Stack Up?

If you are looking for a job (or seeking a promotion with your present company), the current competitive job market demands that you answer an interviewer’s questions about your qualifications with engaging, impressive details.

In today’s world, employers are not willing to accept empty assurances; rather, they want proof of tangible outcomes! Below are some tips and suggestions that can help you as you plan your responses to interviewers about your qualifications.

Remember, planning your responses carefully, evaluating your qualifications honestly, and providing key details about tasks and accomplishments are crucial to successful job interviews!

Qualification Areas Evaluating and Analyzing Your Qualifications
Technology Provide details of how you have used specific software packages in previous jobs or if you have taken a recent class. Having a respected certification award such as the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS or MCAS) in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Access is also a big plus. If you have Web experience or have used social media as part of a previous job, provide the interviewer with examples of how these items were used.
Interpersonal/Human Relations Are you a team player? Have you worked with others to develop and complete projects? Employers value people who have well-developed collaboration skills. They want people who can work well with others (in person or virtually) and get the job done efficiently and effectively. Think about those extracurricular activities, clubs, class projects, volunteer activities, or previous jobs when developing your responses to this area.
Self-Starter Provide the interviewer with concrete examples of how you have taken the initiative in the past to develop successful tasks or projects. If you can provide examples that can show actual dollar amounts that were saved (or that led to positive growth), include this information as well. What evidence can you offer? What leadership roles have held?
Creativity Give the interviewer solid examples of how your creativity or quick learning has helped previous employers—explain these savings in terms of time or money or both. Put this creativity into the context of the target employer and show how these unique skills or qualifications can help this potential employer–that means you have to do your homework and research the employer thoroughly.
Communications Companies know all too well that the high costs of poor communication skills displayed by their workers can impact their bottom lines. In today’s competitive global economy, companies can ill afford employees whose poor communication skills result in lost business and costly mistakes! Set yourself apart and provide examples of how your excellent writing, listening, and speaking skills have benefitted previous employers. You should be prepared to verify these skills and to provide samples of your written work.
Foreign Language Do you write, speak, or understand another language? Remember, we live in a global economy. Provide verifiable details of your foreign language proficiency.

Source: Mary Ellen Guffey and Dana Loewy, Business Communication: Process & Product 7th edition, Mason, OH:  South-Western, Cengage Learning, 2011.

For more information, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, 972-238-6215.