JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Are you a former member of the military who needs help acing that next job interview? It can all come down to how you answer some key questions.
Candace Moody, vice president of communications for WorkSource, has some tips to help interviewees highlight their strengths when answering questions.
Answering "Tell me about yourself."
"Tell me about yourself" is one of the most frequent opening questions in the job interview, and it's the one that should be the easiest to answer. After all, who knows more about you than, well, you? That may just be the problem; most jobseekers don't know where to begin, and they may give either too little information or way too much.
• This question is about chemistry and social skills, so work at getting comfortable with it. It will likely lead off the interview, so it's your shot at making a first impression.
• Stick to career issues (with the possible exception of where you're from and how long you've been in Jacksonville.) Don't reveal personal details that may sink your chances.
• Practice telling your career history briefly and with impact.
• End with a good explanation of why you're in the job market now. If you're currently employed, discuss why you were interested in pursuing something new.
Answering "Tell me about how your military experience qualifies you for a job here (or in your chosen field)"
Here, the company is asking for help in translating what you did to what they need. They may also be testing your knowledge of their industry or the job.
• Research is the key here - you should have a good general grasp of the industry and job. This is not a question on which you want to improvise.
• Include general qualities like leadership, teamwork or self-reliance that apply to any job. Then answer specifically for the industry or job with details about your training, skills, or civilian experience; relate them to the duties of the job posting.
• End with a question - ask about what characteristics, skills or experience might be most important for success in the job. The more the recruiter can tell you about the job and company culture, the better you can frame your responses.
Answering: "Tell me about a time ..." questions
This technique is called Behavioral Based Interviewing, and it's designed to tap into your past experience as a predictor of future behavior. There is a formula for answering these questions to tell an effective story.
• BBI interviewers are looking for specific skills:
o Content Skills -- Knowledge that is work specific such as using computer applications, accounting etc.
o Functional or Transferable Skills -- Used with people, information or things such as organizing, managing, developing, communicating, etc. expressed as verbs.
o Self-Management Skills -- personal characteristics such as dependable, team player, self-directed, punctual, etc.
• Frame your answers in the S.T.A.R.model (describe the Situation, explain how you Took Action, and the Results you accomplished.)
For more tips on resumes, interviewing, and other job search essentials, visit the @work blog: http://atworkjax.wordpress.com/