Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Introspective Exercise – Useful For Interview Preparations

Before walking into an interview, whether you are interviewing or being interviewed, the first thing to do is to be prepared for it, especially on the type of questions asked or being asked. I have compiled from various sources the following topics that will help you develop a perspective. I’d like to call it an introspective exercise.

For those of you who are not preparing for interviews, this can be also useful in doing a quick self-analysis. Who knows? The knowledge you gained from this exercise may come in useful when you’re sitting on the “hot seat”.

Just a little explanation on how to make use of those topics …

If you are a hiring manager, HR or recruiter preparing to conduct an interview, begin with a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities for the position. Develop a list of requirements, objectives and priorities associated with the position and use this as a guide to create specific questions for the topics below.

If you are on the other side of the fence and in the midst of preparing to be interviewed, research the job description and the company profile thoroughly. This information can, more often than not, be found on the company web site. Develop a list of potential responses and also create your own questions to ask about the position role and responsibilities as associated with the topics listed below.

Even if you are not preparing to conduct an interview, or to be interviewed, you can review your current career roles and responsibilities to reflect on the following topics...

A) What have you learned from your previous success?
  • Can you identify significant achievements that highlight your talents, skills and capabilities?
  • How can this knowledge and experience be leveraged to develop future success?
B) What have you learned from your mistakes?
  • Can you identify decisions or circumstances that you might change if given another opportunity?
  • How can this knowledge be applied to mitigate future risks?
C) What have you learned from your experiences and industry knowledge?
  • Can you identify personal experience and perspectives that make you unique?
  • How can unique experience or industry position be used as a strategic advantage?
D) What have you learned from other people?
  • Can you identify skills or knowledge that you have acquired from other experts, peers or mentors?
  • How willing and able are you to learn from the expertise of others?
E) What have you taught other people?
  • Can you identify specific skills, motivation or direction that you have shared for a positive influence to others?
  • How do you contribute to the community and improve your environment? How willing are you to share your knowledge?
F) What behavior did you learn as a child?
  • Can you identify specific characteristics that would best describe your behavior?
  • How would you describe your work ethic?

Every individual is different from the next one, and carries a unique blend of talent, skills and experiences. Character traits can be acquired or learned over the course of our personal as well as professional life, e.g. our childhood, our university days, our careers etc. These traits can contribute to success, reduce risk and be used to enhance the environment around us.In some cases conflicts may arise as a result of different character traits. For example, one person may have experience shaped by previous achievements or mistakes that have not been experienced by another, creating significantly different points of view. And in some cases the differences may be related to work habits or personality traits that were learned as child and not easily changed or influenced in the work environment. These conflicts can be moderated with a better understanding of the experience that shapes another's perspective (empathizing in a manner of speaking).

During the interview process it is the obligation of the interviewer and the individual being interviewed to determine how well the personal experience, knowledge and character match between the person and the position. This increases the potential for future success. And this match is commonly known as
“the FIT”.

If you reviewed the questions as a personal assessment, it can be a meaningful review to reflect on your contributions, motivation and impact to your surrounding e.g. your family, your colleagues, your business partners etc. You have the opportunity to share something of yourself with those around you. In return, you will be given a good opportunity to continually develop your personal knowledge by learning from the unique experiences of those around you. What you do with these opportunities will go a long way in helping to shape your character and your potential for the future.

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