Typical interviews or video interviews include a whole slew of generic questions that a job seeker can prepare for in advance. “Why do you want this position?” “Why are you an ideal candidate?” “What’s your biggest weakness?” You get the gist. If you’re prepared to nail your interview, you probably enter the room ready to answer these questions with the best possible answer, given your previous experience. You most likely focus on the positives and offer the information that the interviewer would most likely want to hear.
What if, however, you were to take a different approach? What if you were to answer these questions the way you might answer them in a non-interview setting? What if you switched your focus, that is, from trying to recite the response you suspect the interviewer wants, to portraying a real and authentic character that the interviewer can relate to and like? It may seem non-intuitive, but this shift in perspective could have tremendous benefits for the success of your interviews.
First, interviewers are not stupid. They can tell when you’re only regurgitating generic answers for the sake of a good impression. And as you might imagine, coming off as a phony will probably not get you anywhere real fast.
Second, interviewers do not expect you to be perfect. If you’re interviewing for your first entry-level job out of college, there are obviously going to be some technical aspects of the position that you don’t yet know how to do. Or perhaps you are not yet familiar with the specific products or services offered by the company you’re applying for. So instead of trying to cover up these “weaknesses” with roundabout arguments simply meant to distract the interviewer from their existence, why not draw on the strengths that you know you do have? Acknowledge, for example, that you have not had previous exposure to selling insurance products, but that in previous situations in which you were unfamiliar with a product, you drew on your hard work ethic, desire to succeed, and analytical nature to very rapidly become comfortable with the product. See how much better that sounds?
While I am advocating for the benefits of revealing yourself as a person of integrity, honesty, and character, I am not intending to say that you need to be completely transparent in your interview. I am simply saying that your weaknesses will inevitably come up as a topic in your interviews. Instead of trying to avoid them, try using this space as an opportunity to show that you are a person of high character.
Portraying a high sense of integrity and honesty is also something you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re shooting a video resume. These are two soft skills that are very important to most employers—whether they are consciously aware of this or not.
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