Describing Analytical Skills in an Interview

Carol writes:
I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and did quite well in
my classes; however the job market is not very good right now and
there are rarely any entry-level positions. Although I do have some
experience in basic bookkeeping and general-ledger postings it
doesn’t seem like that is enough. In all of my interviews I do fine
when it comes to transferable skills as I am an assistant bank
manager and have leadership and organizational skills. However
when it comes to the question “Name some areas in which you
used analytical skills” I seem to come to a halt and start stumbling.
I would really appreciate any feedback that you could give me on this
issue since it seems to be a major drawback in my interviews. I have
been to 7 interviews this fall and have heard nothing not
even a letter of rejection!!

The Career Doctor responds:
I’m not sure what types of jobs you are currently interviewing for but I am
guessing they are accounting-related rather than banking. If that’s the case
I think it really is critical for you to get a handle on your analytical skills and
experiences because I believe these employers may be asking the question
as a way to determine your true interest in accounting since you did not go
into the field after you graduated college.
Job interviewing success is strongly determined by pre-interview preparation.
So before you go on any more job interviews please sit down and make an
inventory of all your analytical skills and experiences. You’ll need to not only
say you have the skills but also demonstrate you have them. Once you have
this general set down your next step will be to match your skills and
experiences to the qualifications an employer seeks in the job description.
Nothing works better in job interviews than using the employer’s own words
to describe your experience — it makes you seem like the perfect fit.
To be certain my hunch is correct you could also contact one or more of
the people you interviewed with and ask them if they would be willing to
give you some honest feedback on your interviewing performance. Not
only will this exercise be helpful for future interviews you may impress
one or more of them enough that they will consider you again for future
openings. (However be prepared not to get anyone to give you feedback; most employers won’t for fear of being sued.)
Finally as I repeat this advice yet again you CANNOT just sit and wait
by the phone expecting employers to call you. You must first send thank-you notes after each interview and then you must follow-up with phone
calls to the employer to show your continuing interest and enthusiasm
for the job and the employer.
800-652-8430 Mon- Fri 8am - 8pm CST
Sat 8am - 5pm CST, Sun 10am - 6pm CST