A job interview is stressful as we have discussed. If you read my last few posts on interviewing, you found that you have to be prepared. Preparing for the interview de-stresses the situation considerably. Yet, many candidates – regardless of the level for which they are interviewing – wing it. Frequently they cause themselves to be weeded out in the process. This doesn’t have to be the case.

Like so much of the interview, seemingly innocent questions can trip you up (remember the bait questions?). You think you are answering them in a way that puts you in the best light, but you’d be surprised at how many people completely miss the boat. Merely to hope an interview has a positive result is not enough. That’s basically forfeiting your ability to drive up the odds of a positive outcome.

Here is an example: in response to the question, “Why do you want to work here?” some people will say things such as:

“I’ve worked in this industry for 15 years and been very successful. I feel I can make a difference in your organization. I have a proven track record. I’ve read in the paper that your company is having some problems, and with my experience as a Director of XXXXX, I can help straighten those out.”


That answer may appear to suffice, but on a scale of 1 – 10, it ranks about a 4!

Why? The answer shows no research, no thought, and no consideration. It is not personal at all.  

In my experience in interviewing, interviewers want to know the impact you can bring to the company. They are looking to solve problems, so they want to know how can you solve them. Why do you want to solve problems for their company? 

Let’s look closer.

Why do you want to work here?

Here’s where you get to show off your research. Tell the interviewer what you’ve learned about the company, and why it’s appealing to you. SPECIFICS about youare the key here.

Relate those specific examples from yourexperience to what you’ve learned about the company, their focus, and their market. Look to your personality and what motivates you and how that relates to any details you learned from the ad, your recruiter, your friend who referred you, or from where you learned of this opportunity.

For instance, perhaps the job description stated that they were looking to establish a wellness program from ground up. If you thrive on growth, challenges and making things happen – there’s your answer – include examples of how you have grown, established, or developed a similar program in a parallel situation.

And, you might ask, “What if it’s not a high profile company? What if it’s on the small side and local?” Right. Not every company is the size of Apple. The company still has some type of history. Always ask the recruiter questions. Gather as much information as you can.

Share what you can do, why you feel you can make a contribution, and how you can benefit the company. This question is about how YOU can benefit the company, not how the company can benefit YOU.

The next question…

Tell me about yourself

Some interviews are lost right at this point. People just don’t know where to start. This is not an invitation to go on ad nauseum about everything that has happened to you since you were five years old or since your first job out of college. Nor is it the time to shrug your shoulders and give an unplanned, one-sentence answer. There has to be a middle ground. 

Some people, especially those who haven’t prepared and have a tendency to talk when they get nervous, find themselves rambling. Put together a nice little 2 – 3 minute verbal bio about your career, your qualifications, and why you are interested. Know what you’re going to say in advance. Don’t forget to add in a hobby you like. Many interviewers like to know they are not interviewing robots. Practice this speech. 

A few points to remember

Knowing who you are, what you want, what you have to offer, and what you’ve accomplished – and having it all on the tip of your tongue – can make or break the interview. 

Being able to sell yourself, your skills, how you can benefit a potential company and then being able to close the deal, necessitates taking the time to research and learn the company. It means knowing yourself well enough that you can apply aspects of your capabilities to the individual facts and details of that INDIVIDUAL company – and that you can do it smoothly without just winging it.

And last, but not least, the words of Peter Handal of Dale Carnegie Training say it all: “You only have one chance to make a really good impression.” If you don’t take it seriously enough to study and thoroughly prepare, someone else will, and that’s the person who will get the job! Let that person be you! 

Do your homework before EVERY interview! There’s no chance to make a second good impression!  

What other questions do you have that I can address?

How will you prepare? Do you have your 2-3 speech prepared?

Let me know…

Check out the Working Woman Video Series to accompany this post

Keep winning and creating harmony in your life.

Marla J. Albertie

Your Life Harmonizing Strategist