Obviously, you can prepare better for this type of interview if you know which skills that the employer has predetermined to be necessary for the job you seek. Using the guidelines in the next two chapters, you’ll want to compose stories/examples that demonstrate the skills, abilities, values, and knowledge that employers seek in the type of job and industry you’re targeting. So, how do you find out what skills, abilities, values, and knowledge are being sought? Your best indicator will be the ads and job postings for the type of position you seek, which likely will list the skills and behaviors the employer will be looking for in candidates who interview for those positions. These steps will help you narrow down the skills:
- Identify a dozen or so help-wanted ads or Internet job postings that typify the kind of job you seek.
- List keywords that describe the skills and characteristics required for these jobs. See the end of this chapter for a list of skills and characteristics that employers typically seek.
- Now, highlight all the skills and characteristics keywords the ads or job postings have in common and make a list of these frequently appearing skills/characteristics.
- For each skill/characteristic listed, compose an example/story (see more about the importance of storytelling in behavioral interviews in Chapters 3 and 4) that illustrates how you have successfully demonstrated that skill or characteristic in your career “ or even in your personal life.
Now you’ll be prepared for behavioral interviews for positions within your industry. As you are invited on interviews for specific positions, go through the process again with each individual ad/job posting to ensure that you have examples/stories ready for each skills and behavior listed.
If the ad does not specify detailed skills and behaviors, or if you’ve landed an interview without responding to an ad (perhaps through networking), ask if the employer can provide you with a written job description before the interview.
Researching the company and talking to people who work there will also give you clues to zero in on the kinds of behaviors the company wants.