What are your top tips for a job interview?
I have a job interview later this week for a small start up business as a Community Manager (Social Media and Marketing).
I've only ever worked for large businesses or for myself so not sure if a start-up environment would be different.
As small business owners, what tips could you give to someone like me as I prepare for my interview?
Startups are vastly different than large enterprise business. They move very quickly and they typically try to squeeze as much as possible from a dollar (if they are bootstrapping) if they have funding that may not be the case.
However, they may need shorter-horizon time lines for seeing measurable results. This may sound like quite a bit of pressure and it very well may be.
But the positive side of startups is that they are more open to innovation and experimentation to find what works quickly. You will likely have greater access to your customer (less bureaucracy) and there tends to be a lot of excitement. Your role at a startup may also bleed into other areas that would be covered by other people at a larger enterprise so be flexible and don't cling to past expectations of what your "role" is or will be. Always be open to learning and trying things out of your comfort zone.
A job interview is a lot like a test. If you know what the interviewer is looking for, you can answer accordingly and pass the test. Of course, you can just give the answers they're looking for and land the job, but it may not be a good fit for you if you do.
You want to know if you are really the right answer to the questions. Being genuine counts. That way you'll be more likely to like what you're doing and excel at it. You'll also be more likely to meet the employer's needs. Yes, employers often have a different perspective on what is most important than you do. What you have to do is find as close a match for both of you as possible! Everyone needs to have most of their needs covered.
Usually when we think about what those needs are, we think about pay, hours, skills, benefits and personalities. I'll bet you've already passed a few job interviews in your time, but even if this is new to you, you get the idea.
Check the advertisement. Match it to your training and history. Then highlight the matches while talking about your skills during the interview. Each time you study for the interview, you get better at doing them. Sometimes we do get the job. Sometimes it isn't a fit. But we learn more each time we go through the process. How about learning about yourself in terms of your best self-expression and then matching that to the employer's needs?
Say you know how to write an engineering resume, doctor resume, administrative assistant resume etc. You know how much the job needs to pay. You have an idea what's being offered. But how much do you know about your own personality, what motivates you and how that will work for your employer? If you pay attention to which of seven traits or skills are important to you and your employer, you'll be able to find a better fit. They're very important in the task of doing what's needed, as well as being your best self on the job. The seven skills or traits are: leadership, service, storytelling, efficiency, inspiration, information and innovation. Chances are that you are really good with at least two of these.
Let's take a look at what each one means and how they show up in a business environment.
- First let's look at leadership. Are you a good leader? Can you prove it from anything in your resume or with information from your life? You may think not, but even good parenting skills could potentially show leadership if you think about it. Do you take the lead in your community in some way? Look closely at your life and see.
- Now service. Do you feel good when you do something for someone else? Are you always helping people out? Are you someone who gives to others? These activities and desires could show that you are good at service.
- Next storytelling. The trait of storytelling may surprise you, but think about it. What does every good salesperson really do? They tell you a story about their product or service that helps you decide whether or not to buy it, right? Good. Look for that in your history.
- Efficiency. Are you one of those people who is incredibly organized and can do things better and faster than almost anyone else? This is a great trait to have. It may seem obvious that an employer would want this, but is it one of your best skills, or not? That's what you want to know.
- Inspiration is next. Do you want to make the world a better to live in? Inspire others to be their best? Are your friends always coming to you when they need to talk to someone? Then you may be very good at inspiration.
- Of course, with computers and the information overload we all deal with, we must deal with information. But do you love doing it? Are you a whiz at finding whatever information you or anyone else may need on anything you want? Do you enjoy finding information for other people? If so, it may be one of your best skills.
- And then there is innovation. How do you do at coming up with new ideas on how to make things work better than ever before? Do you constantly have a better idea? Then you may be an innovator.
Each of these skills has its place in the workplace. None of them rates higher than the others. All of them are needed and valued in the right job. Look at your goals, your personality and your resume and see which are your top two. Then go find a job that fits the best in you and give it your all!