SEPTEMBER 27, 2017, Fort Knox, KY – Employers know from an applicant’s resume what they did at their last job, but in order to get a call-back they need to see the potential the applicant has to do the next one.
What an employer doesn’t know from a resume is how well the applicant works with others, how they accomplish tasks, what time-management skills they have, and if they’re going to fit into the company culture. An employer is often looking for the same things in an employee as an employee is looking for in a boss or co-worker. They want someone who will show up on time for work, is self-disciplined, even-tempered, and able to get along with the staff.
In an interview, employers are looking to see how well the applicant will fit in with an organization through various interview questions. Some questions that could be asked include:
- Why are you interested in this position?
- Tell us about yourself.
- Give an example of a mistake you’ve made at work and how you corrected it.
- What was the biggest challenge at work that you’ve faced? How did you handle it?
The questions an applicant is asked may be similar to those above, but applicants should also be prepared for others. It’s important to prepare answers to some of the most common questions and be ready for a variety of others, depending on the position being applied to.
At the Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP), counselors provide interview assistance by reminding transitioning Soldiers to turn weaknesses into strengths when answering interview questions. This is when applicants have the opportunity to emphasize their interest in the company, how they see themselves meeting organizational goals, how they can develop strategies to strengthen areas in need of improvement, and how they plan to contribute to the effectiveness of the organization.
During the interview, applicants can use words that describe their skills and abilities as they relate to the position. These can include team player, effective communicator, adaptable, tactful, self-confident, energetic, motivated, teachable, creative, problem solver, conscientious, organized, and a leader.
Interviewers also allow applicants to ask questions about the job, the organization, and other aspects of the hiring process. This usually occurs throughout the interview and at the end. It is important to save enough questions to ask at the end of the interview to wrap up any last thoughts. If an applicant doesn’t ask a question, an applicant could come off as uninterested. Keep questions employer or job-focused versus benefits or salary-centered. This is an applicant’s opportunity to reaffirm that they not only have the specific skills and knowledge considered necessary to do the job, but that they also look forward to the opportunity to work with the team. Enthusiasm can make all the difference.
Preparing for a job search takes time and practice. SFL-TAP encourages transitioning Soldiers to start the program 18 months prior to transition or 24 months prior to retirement. To learn more about SFL-TAP, contact a local Center or visit www.sfl-tap.army.mil.
Story by Jenny Hale
U.S. Army Human Resources Command