Yes. The simple things in life are sometimes not so simple. Interviewing for a great job is not simple. However, if you can master the things in an interview that you control, you will make a great impression. That is why these two interview questions are critical to your interview success.
The assumptions that I am making (except in the case of entry level) is that you are qualified for the job you are applying for and have the desired education level. In other words, you think you are a good fit for the job and the company has an interest in you.
Question #1: Tell me about yourself?
In over fifty percent of interviews, this will be the first question asked. If this is the case, you better have a good answer. Follow these steps:
- Begin your sixty second elevator speech with, “First of all, thank you for having me in today to meet you and learn more about the risk management position.”
- Next, move into the meat and potatoes of your work life by going over a brief history and statement of who you are and why you are there. This is not the time to talk about your personal life, hobbies, traffic congestion or anything that is not relevant. This is a time to show you have great career experience that will fit into the culture and design of the job which you are interviewing for in the first place.
EXAMPLE: I have been working in the risk management field for the last 7 years and my responsibilities have grown during this time. My emphasis has been on workers compensation and liability in a manufacturing environment. With my current employer, I retooled the entire risk management department with a bottom line savings of over $850,000 annually. In addition, I was able to update safety standards that also decreased onsite job injuries to their lowest levels in 25 years. I became interested in your opportunity because my risk management strengths seem to be a good match and challenge to help your company reevaluate and make changes to the risk management department.
You have to be genuine and try your hardest to link your previous experience to the position that you are interviewing for so you make a clear connection that you are a good fit for the job. Also, make sure you back up all career statements that showcase your skills with actual examples.
Question#2: How will you add value to our company?
The first thing you must know about the company you are interviewing with is how they make money. Do the research and don’t fail on this point. Secondly, know how the job you are interviewing for “touches” that money. If you are a claims adjuster, you touch the money when you adjust claims. Your value is your customer service and your ability to adjust the claim correctly.
You have to bring this out in the interview and you do that with real examples. Give them examples of your caseload, your closing ratio and overall performance within your current company. Use a specific example of a difficult claim, how you handled it and the final result. Give the interviewer a clear picture of your ability not only to manage the claim but also save the company money. Your real life examples of your work are your value that you bring to the interview and the reason you will be a strong candidate.
No matter if you are entry level or have twenty five years of experience, treat these two questions with precision. Believe it or not, most fail in answering these two questions. It’s not because they don’t have the experience, but lack the ability to showcase their skills to the skill set of the position they are interviewing for in the first place. Don’t let this be you!