Money Under 30 posted an interesting article titled How Not to Suck at Applying for a Job. That got me thinking about some of the applicants I’ve seen in the most recent two years.
Why do you want this job?
I don’t want to hear that this new job is part of the natural progression on your career path. I DON’T want to hear that this job is the next step, and just seems like what you should do. I want to hear that you believe you’ll be great at this job and can help the organization by being hired. I want to hear that your skills and experience will benefit the organization more with the new job than with the current job. When you tell the interviewer that “this seems like the next logical step” you’re stating that the organization will help you without you helping the organization. If that’s the case, perhaps the job applicant should be paying the company.
What are one of your weaknesses?
This is such an old and classic interview question that anyone who seems dumbfounded by this question has labeled themselves as LAME. The most common dumb responses I hear are “I work too hard” or “I put in too many hours”. Of course, the applicant is trying to sell himself/herself. What they’ve really shown is that they didn’t plan for this most common interview question AND they haven’t done a self-assessment of their abilities. Working too hard is not a weakness so you didn’t answer the friggin’ question. If you know about yourself and the job in question, identify an area of knowledge or a skill that is tangential to the job you’re interviewing for. Explain that you don’t have it yet and explain what you’re doing right now to acquire the missing knowledge/skill. Then, follow up with a great thing you’ll be able to do for the organization once you add this new skill to your existing knowledge and experience.