3 Keys to Unlocking Job Interviews
Whether you’re looking for a job or an internship, the interview is a major gateway to pass through on your way to being offered the position. As you prepare to answer the questions that the interviewer will surely ask you, it’s important to know what’s behind those questions and what exactly they’re looking for. Simply put, it’s this:
Are going to use your knowledge effectively to enhance the company or organization’s mission?
Specifically, interviewers are looking for three main things:
1. Are you curious?
You may be answering lots of questions, but you’ll also want to find ways to demonstrate that you’re craving new knowledge. That means talking about things you have read and classes you have taken, as well as personal interests that excite you and how you pursue them. Additionally, it means turning the tables and asking a few questions! Before your interview, research the role and the company so you’re prepared with thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer.
2. How will you use the knowledge you come in with when you need it at work?
Engage your interviewer in a conversation that allows you to talk about the things you know that are relevant to the job and the company. Again, researching the role ahead of time is crucial so you can make the connections between what you know and how you’ll apply it.
3. It’s OK to say, “I don’t know,” but follow it with, “I want to learn.”
Part of being successful is knowing what you know and knowing what you still need to learn. There will be times in an interview when you get a question that you simply can’t answer. When that happens, don’t be tempted to talk around the question or embellish the truth in an effort to compensate for what you don't know.
Instead, you can say that the question hits upon something you don’t know much about yet. You can also use it as an opportunity to talk about your strategy for learning new things on the job, even offering some examples of how you’ve successfully done that in the past. In fact, you can take this time to ask the interviewer what kind of education benefits the company offers and what ongoing training they provide.
When you have the confidence to show that you don’t know a few things, you actually start to create trust with the interviewer. They now know that you are someone who won’t just try to hide what is outside of your knowledge span or avoid projects because of it, but will instead ask questions and learn, and then apply that to your work.