Preparing for interviews can be a daunting task for many. This is regardless of the position you hold or are applying for. What stresses you out is your ability to rise to the occasion in the interview room. You have the papers, yes, but you are not sure whether the interviewing panel will be convinced enough for you to secure the position being interviewed for.
It is natural, as you prepare for the interview, to look for tips and pointers to help you ace the interview. There are many questions which feature in the interview room. Some will tackle the professional aspect of your qualifications, while others dwell on how applicable these qualifications are.
What Applicable Experience Do You Have?
The interviewer wants to know how the experience you have acquired directly relates to the job you are applying for. In other words, the interviewing team wants to know what you were doing in the past that is relevant to the work you will do in case you are hired for the position being interviewed for.
Let’s look at the example of Sally. Sally is a hairstylist, and she wishes to work as a receptionist in a hospital. These two jobs are different but are co-related somehow. Sally’s job as a stylist entails the following three steps:
- Interaction with the customers
- Asking the client how they want their hair done; if it is a haircut or styling
- Styling or cutting the hair as per the client’s desires
What Sally needs to do is to identify what she does as a stylist that the hospital will expect her to do in the new job. For Sally, she needs to highlight the experiences gained, which later became skills and abilities that will make her work at the hospital successful. In other words, she needs to show how her working with clients at the salon will help her deal with the patients at the hospital
The interviewing panel needs to be convinced you can perfectly handle the position you are interviewing for. They want the assurance that hiring you will be a good choice and you will bring results.
Here are some tips to make you stand out in the interview room:
I cannot overemphasize the need for accuracy. Talk about your true strengths, not what you feel the panel wants to hear.
As you talk about your strengths, stick to what is most applicable to the position currently being interviewed. A good number miss on this point by going on and on about what they have done, most of which have no relation whatsoever with the role of the new position.
You have to be specific as you talk about your experience. For example, instead of saying you have people skills, you can say you are a persuasive communicator. Or you are good at building relationships.
Give a detailed description of your abilities and responsibilities
You need to connect these with the job you are being interviewed for. Make sure that whatever you say is tied to what was listed in the job description for the new role. This will make the interview panel see that you have what it takes to fill the position. Also, remember to highlight what is most recent.
Quantify your answer
It is good that the panel knows you can solve problems because that is what they are looking for in the person they wish to hire.
As you talk about experience, let the panel have figures to work with. For example, if the sales of the company increased during your tenure or you saved the company some money, let the interviewer know this using the actual figures or in percentage.
This is another key area that job candidates sometimes miss on. They focus so much on the need to get hired that they overlook basic truths. Be truthful about what you have achieved.
Don’t say something that you have not done. Many of the hiring managers’ cross-check your information with your referees listed. Even if they don’t check, you don’t want to be hired to do something you have no clue whatsoever on how to go about, simply because you lied.
Lastly, you should follow up with practical examples of how your experience is applicable
Here is an example of an answer when interviewing for a marketing position.
“I am well prepared for this job because I have years of experience behind me. Having spent five years working in a busy call center company, customer service is something I can handle with ease. My job entailed answering customer queries and providing solutions to their issues.
During my tenure at the call center, I developed skills working with customers, even when they would cause trouble. I know how to calm down situations and make the customer feel appreciated.
While I was there, customer satisfaction improved greatly to almost 50% of how it was previously. I feel that I can be of value to your team, given my vast experience in customer service.”
As you prepare for the interview practice, how you will answer the questions. This does not mean that you ought to cram word for word of what you will say. As much as you need to appear confident, it is important to remain relaxed and natural.
How you describe your applicable experience will make you a step ahead of the other candidates interviewing for the same position. Your potential employers need to know that the experience you have is transferable and can be of benefit to the company. For you to be considered by the panel, make sure the proof you give is specific and quantifiable.
What applicable experience do you have? This is a question most interviewers will often ask the candidate. It is good to plan your answers well so that at the end of the session, you will feel confident that you have given it your best.
Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!
- Career Change
- Career Goals
- Conflict Resolution
- Creative Thinking
- Cultural Fit
- Customer Service
- Growth Potential
- Honesty & Integrity
- Job Satisfaction
- Entry-Level & No experience
- Prioritization & Time Management
- Situational & Scenario-based
- Stress Management
- Telephone Interview
- Work Ethic