The theme for the next few weeks is interviewing.  Interviewing has become a critical skill as there are now more job applicants than ever. What will make a candidate stand out? 

Recently, the U.S. News released an article, “25 Qualities Job Interviewers look for.” All the qualities are relevant, but if I had to choose the top five, they would be: Flexibility, Judgment, Problem solving skills, Follow through, and  the Ability to handle criticism.

As I state in my e-zine article, “The Ideal Interview – How a Woman Can Prepare,” follow-through with handwritten notes go along way. Because handwritten notes are rare these days, you can use this as an opportunity to stand out from the other candidates.  

To prove your problem solving skills, you may be thrown a crazy scenario during a job interview. The first thing to do is to stay calm.  Breathe slowly and as deeply as possible without looking obvious.  The next thing to do is to repeat the question you are asked in a way that appears as if you are merely seeking clarification before you respond.  This buys you some time to think, if only a few seconds.  Finally, use good judgment in your answer.  Remain polite and professional at all times.  Do not allow the interviewer to drag you down or compromise your integrity.  Depending how crazy the question or scenario is, you may need to face the fact that you cannot work for this individual or company given what is taking place during the interview.  Remember that an interview situation reveals as much about “them” as it does about you. 

Many times, interviewers ask you to describe your weakness as a way to judge your ability to handle criticism. When asked to describe your weaknesses during an interview, avoid spinning them as strengths in disguise.  Everybody is going to find out the truth anyway if you actually end up working there.  I recommend that you are honest about the areas you need to grow in–and give examples of ways you have already begun to take charge of that growth.  This shows you are self aware and proactive.  Pretending you have no weaknesses is foolish.  We all have weaknesses.  It’s just that perhaps yours are different from mine.

Stay tuned for more next week.

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