Acing the Interview: How to Land that Coveted Position in Organizational Leadership
After what seems like countless months and years of stress, lost sleep, studying and cold pizza for breakfast, you’ve finally obtained a Master’s in Organizational Leadership. You assume the difficult leg of your journey is over, and now all you have to do is compose a few resumes, fill out some applications, purchase your first power suit and smile during the interview.
Unfortunately, the corporate world is becoming more cutthroat and competitive every year, meaning it will take more than a winning smile and an impressive resume to land your first postgraduate position. Here are a few helpful tips and suggestions to help you shine at your first interview, and win over the HR representative.
Questions You Might Encounter
The specifics will vary, but don’t be surprised when you encounter some variation on the following standard interview questions:
- Give an example of a professional and personal success? The interviewer is basically looking to see how you measure success. When it comes to a personal success, don’t hesitate to truly keep it personal by addressing a time when you helped organize a canned food drive at your high school. As far as professional, once again be specific by telling a story that highlights how you reached a particular goal as a team instead of bragging about the personal achievement.
- Meeting deadlines is a huge part of being a successful organization. What steps would you take to ensure a deadline is met? Simply put, as a leader or manager, you’re in charge of meeting a deadline. Let the interviewer know that you’re able to meet deadlines no matter what, but don’t forget to be specific. For instance, address certain issues that can arise that often delay projects, from sick employees to stress.
- How would your peers and supervisors play a role in your decision making process? Organizational leaders are members of a team and HR representatives are looking for an individual that can function in a group setting. Emphasize the point that you’re capable of making the tough decisions, but also that it’s important to take everyone else’s view and opinions into consideration.
- Motivating and praising peers and employees is another aspect of organizational leadership. Simply put: how would you praise someone for a job well done, in private or public? This is a tricky question, and for many the obvious answer might be to praise the individual and draw attention to his good work in front of his peers and colleagues. During the interview, emphasize your belief that praising and acknowledging individuals is an important part of being an effective leader, but that doing it behind closed doors is the better option. Giving someone a handshake or the proverbial slap on the back for a job well done with everyone watching can often translate to favoritism, which can make for an unpleasant, tense workplace.
Tips to Ace the Interview
No two interviews are ever alike, meaning it can feel impossible to prepare. However, there are a few universal dos and don’ts that can make or break the experience:
- Do Research the Company or Organization. It’s almost a guarantee the interviewer will ask what you know about the company and why you want to work there. Check out the company website to learn as much as you can about its mission, philosophy and history.
- Do Practice Your Interviewing Skills. Ask a friend or colleague to set up a mock interview. Put on your best suit and practice how you’d answer certain questions. Instruct your fake interviewer to throw in a few curve balls to help you prepare for the unexpected.
- Do Get Your Resume and References in Order. Double and triple check your resume and references for any grammatical errors and overall accuracy.
- Don’t Be Late. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to arrive at the company at least 15 minutes before the interview.
- Don’t Freak Out. Stressing over the interview will only result in a restless night’s sleep and the need to slip antacids in your pocket. Instead remain calm, ask the interviewer to clarify a confusing question and most importantly, be yourself.
You don’t need a masters in human resources to understand how the interview process works. Basically, the company is taking that 10 or 15 minutes to determine your work ethic as well as to get a sense of your style, methods and basically how you’d fit in. The best way to ace any interview is to let the HR representative know that you’re a hard-working individual who would be a great asset to any organization.
Melanie Thompson is a guest blogger and part-time student. Melanie is currently seeking her organizational leadership masters degree while working full-time in the healthcare industry.