The Most Important Interview Question
Job interviews, most of us have been to one. We all form preconceived ideas of the possible questions we may be asked or the type of interviewer we may encounter: laid back or uptight. With all new endeavors, we may experience nervousness and a little anxiety about the unknown. We prep to the best of our ability. Researching the organization, looking into any recent news coverage, using Glass door to find applicable interview questions and to read about the experiences of others. We may daydream and play out different scenarios in our heads in anticipation for the big day. You may consider if telling a joke to lighten the mood will be necessary, or even appropriate? And if so, what’s the perfect joke?
We’re all a lot more similar than we think.
In my own personal preparation, I use to research the possible questions for that particular position and write out responses to each one. I would then try my best to memorize these responses. This worked for a while until I decided it was time to embrace my changes. I had set out for a more meaningful, purposeful way of living and it’s hard to ignore the signs of growth. Signs that assure you that you are indeed ready to step into your next phase. Always choose to continue your journey in self-development despite how scary it may seem.
Two things happened:
- I became more self aware. In my experience, I can say the best preparation for a job interview is not googling possible questions for the position. Your greatest tool in preparation is self-awareness. You can answer any question thrown your way once you understand and accept who you are at your core, the beliefs you hold in your heart and the principles you stand by. You’ll have a newfound appreciation and desire for true alignment. You’ll grow a natural filter that allows you to recognize if this position and organization is in fact for you. You’re no longer in a position of uncertainty, self-doubt and low confidence. Gone are the days you rehearse your response and wonder whether or not they’ll like you.
- I realized that impromptu actually works best for me. It gives me a chance to speak from my heart. Often times, the questions I had prepared for were not even asked. And if those questions did come up, I noticed my responses were not as eloquent and free-flowing as the questions where I had to answer on the fly. Those responses were robotic and rehearsed. When I spoke from within, I felt passionate and ignited. This is me in my most authentic form and the person I want to be on display.
One day, in preparation for an interview, I decided to write:
- Descriptions of the projects/tasks I had worked on during my previous employment in addition to my masters program
- Personal strengths and weaknesses
- My interest in that particular position and organization
In the midst of writing all this, I had a huge realization: I’ve done A LOT. Not only that, but I’m still doing it. This is literally who I am but I failed to really put it into perspective until it came time to try and sell myself to an employer. Why hadn’t I realized this before? I was working so incredibly hard to prove it to a stranger that I forgot to prove it to myself. I’m a strong believer that everything we’ll ever need is already inside us. The work we do and how we treat others speaks volumes. It’s up to each of us to reflect on it in a capacity that truly benefits us.
“Tell me about some of your strengths and weaknesses.”
This particular question really stood out to me. In analyzing your personal strengths and weaknesses, you are given the opportunity to understand who you were in the past, who you are presently and who you want to become. This type of alignment can only propel you. Your strengths are natural and innate. You also probably enjoy partaking in activities where you naturally excel. Your weaknesses are typically things that you struggle with and may not enjoy doing. Right there, you have just filtered a great deal of poor decisions and wasted time.
“The good life consists in deriving happiness by using your signature strengths every day in the main realms of living. The meaningful life adds one more component: using these same strengths to forward knowledge, power or goodness” -Martin Seligman
I would urge everyone to get in tune with their strengths. Use them to your advantage, use them to do good and ultimately use them to create the life you want.
As you discuss your strengths and weaknesses with the next employer, don’t just leave those answers in the interview room. Take them home with you, reflect on them often and incorporate them into your daily decision making.
I’m an overly flexible and open individual. Because of this, all sorts of opportunities come my way. But this does not mean each and every one is for me. A natural filter. It saves an incredible amount of time and allows you to remain laser focused on what truly matters most to you. Does this add or take away from the vision I have for myself? Does this highlight my strengths? Does this spark my passion?
I found something that means so much to me by choosing to tune into what truly makes me happy: helping others, creating and remaining useful. I love writing, I love connecting with others and I love creating meaningful relationships. In forming a healthy relationship with myself and connecting with the work I do, I now have a solid foundation to share who I am and what I do with an audience. In doing this, I hope to create a domino effect, manifesting true power.