Tag Archives: interview skills

What Is Your Proudest Accomplishment?

Interviews can be tough.  It’s hard to walk that fine line of “this is why I’m an exceptional employee and you should hire me” and totally bragging. A question that employers like to ask is “What accomplishment are you most proud of?” This is a great question- it allows the employer to see what excites you and get to know you outside of your skills.  However, it can be a stumbling block for the candidate being interviewed, because that fear of bragging always seems to creep in.  In an article posted on Careerealism, Peggy McKee shares wonderful insight on how to appropriately answer this question.

McKee urges interviewees to use recent examples from their work experience- which, for a college student, could be changed to college experience that is relevant to the position. Although you may be proud that you got accepted to college, or got an A in a particularly difficult class, they don’t necessarily highlight the skills or values the employer is looking for.  However, if it’s a company that emphasizes team work, you could share an example of  how you motivated your team before a big game, used practices to focus on drills, and called plays to highlight everyone’s strength, and the team won the game. This shows your ability to work on a team for success. Or, if it’s a company that’s very customer service-driven, you could share an example from your off-campus job as a server, where you have to make sure you take orders correctly, anticipate needs for things like drink refills, and deliver food quickly so it stays warm- all while providing service with a smile, even when the restaurant is packed! To help you determine what skills a company may focus on, look at the job description and their company website to see what their values are.

McKee also recommends that, while framing your answer, you use the STAR method. This will help you stay focused. With the STAR method, you highlight the Situation or Task, Action, and Result. So, with our teamwork example, your Situation would be a big game, the Action would be using the practices to work on drills, motivating your teammates, and effectively calling plays. Your Result would be that you won! With the server position, your Task is to always provide excellent customer service.  Your Action is to take correct orders, smile, anticipate needs, and be timely.  Your Result is when customers leave happy and return- and maybe even ask to sit in your section!

For more examples and tips from McKee, check out her article here: http://www.careerealism.com/interview-question-proudest-accomplishment/

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The Words You Need to Know

The Words You Need to Know

In light of Women’s History Month, our office teamed up with two other departments on campus to hold a panel discussion on leadership qualities in women. During our planning stages, our main focus was simple: how do we empower women to feel confident in the workplace? As this article from Women For Hire points out, women need to exude confidence right from the very beginning- their interview. More often than not, women struggle with the interview because they don’t want to seem pushy, or they don’t feel confident that they are the best candidate for the job. So, to help women feel more prepared, the article lists five statements everyone should make in order to feel more confident in themselves and in presenting their previous experiences. These phrases aren’t limited to just the interview, but they will help you answer questions by serving as a lead-off point. For example, when an employer asks “why should we hire you?” you can always start your answer with “I am an excellent candidate for your job because…” It gives a boost of confidence to use “excellent” instead of “good fit” because it’s more assertive and excellent is always better than good. The article also includes five phrases no one should ever use in an interview, particularly because the interview isn’t meant to bash a previous employer or negotiate salary. By having these phrases in mind, women and men alike can have an outstanding interview and feel more confident in their job search.