3 BEs of Effective Interviewing: Part 2

In our last post, we discussed the importance of effective interviewing, regardless of the type of company or position you seek.  Internships, apprenticeships, full-time or part-time jobs--they all include an interview.  This is your time to shine and to demonstrate your skills, personality and talents – it'’s the one time in your life where it is ok to brag a little!

After discussing the first three "BEs of Effective Interviewing" – BE Prepared, BE a Good Listener and BE Inquisitive – it's now time to round out our list with the final three.

BE Specific & Cite Real Examples

The current trend in screening talent is behavioral or situational interviewing. This style of interviewing challenges you by asking about specific situations such as "Tell me about a time when…" or "Give me an example of a situation in which you…" or "What has been your greatest challenge and why" or "How did you handle a situation with a difficult boss/employee, etc."

The most effective way to demonstrate your experience and showcase your talents is to provide specific examples of your accomplishments. Once again, this can’t be accomplished without preparing for the interview. Ideally, the examples you cited on your resume are the same examples you'll use during the interview process. Be sure to outline your role in each accomplishment, the reason you were involved in the situation, the challenges you faced and how you overcame them.

Don't be afraid to talk about your failures either – companies realize you are human. They want to know you have learned from your mistakes.  Most importantly, describe the outcome and how it benefited the team, department and company.  A word of caution: don't take credit for other people's successes. At some point during the process, your exaggerations will be discovered!  

BE Energetic & Enthusiastic

A positive attitude and an enthusiastic demeanor won't single-handedly get you the job, but you'll almost certainly lose a job if you fail to demonstrate your interest and excitement during the interview. Throughout the screening process, the hiring manager will spend a great deal of time evaluating your culture fit in addition to your technical fit.

Whether the department is high energy or low key, the hiring manager wants to hire someone who's passionate about the work he'll be doing. Remember to smile, use open body language, nod in agreement, ask follow-on questions, maintain eye contact and show emotion in your responses.

Caution: This is not an invitation to be disingenuous or annoyingly peppy. If you're unable to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm in the position, perhaps it's not for you. 

BE Yourself!

Finally, but most important of all--be yourself! The only way to avoid a mismatched placement is to provide the interviewer with a genuine picture of your approach, style and skills. (Note: this includes the presentation of a truthful resume.)

While there's always some degree of "selling" during the interview process, you'll avoid surprises and misaligned expectations if and only if you discuss your work style and work ethic in an honest fashion from the very beginning.

A recent survey conducted by Leadership IQ indicated that 46 percent of new hires fail within 18 months… with nearly 89 percent leaving their position due to a lack of culture fit.  Be true to yourself, and the interviewer and you will greatly enhance your chances of securing a good fit!

The process of interviewing can seem overwhelming, exhausting and nerve-racking if you're not prepared. However, by adhering to these guidelines, you'll greatly enhance your success rate and gain a competitive edge.  

Ken C. Schmitt is Junior Achievement of San Diego's board member, the founder and president of TurningPoint Executive Searchand the Sales Leadership Alliance.

A native of San Diego, Ken has been recruiting and coaching for over 15 years, supporting professionals from a variety of industries and functions. In 2009, he launched StartingPoint Careers to provide interviewing, resume writing and job search coaching to high school and college students. We invite you to contact Ken at

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Work Readiness, Know-How

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