When in an interview, it is important to understand what the questions you are asked really mean. Many common questions have hidden meaning or are trying to uncover some information that might not be apparent. If you can recognize this, your answers will be stronger.
If you are asked to give examples of ideas you’ve previously implemented, they are not necessarily interested in the ideas themselves.
Instead, the interviewer wants to know if you are an employee that thinks independently and is trying to improve efficiency. Focus on this and really emphasize that you are such an employee.
Points to Emphasize
Remember that interviewers are concerned with how their company will benefit. You should try to demonstrate the advantages they would enjoy if they hired you.
- Emphasize the results of your ideas. The idea itself does not need to be profound, but you should mention how it improved business.
- If possible, briefly mentioning multiple examples will demonstrate a pattern of independent thinking. This is more impressive than one very big idea.
- Your examples are especially effective if they are in a related field. This demonstrates familiarity with the intricacies of the field you are entering.
- You may even be so bold as to mention that you will try to implement similar ideas when working with them. Confidence goes a long way.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
In addition to understanding what they are really asking, you should understand what they are not looking for. Try to avoid these bad topics when answering.
- Avoid extensive details. Your idea might have been complicated, but they do not need a full explanation. Remember, they are less interested in the idea itself.
- Do not try to use an idea you had that your employers refused. The interviewer will not recognize how effective it might have been.
- Likewise, do not talk about how your ideas should have been implemented in more ways. They will likely take your previous managers’ side and assume there was a good reason they did what they did.
- Do not use examples that did not make an impact. The result is the most important part, so failed or ineffective ideas are not very good answers.
Your example of ideas you have implemented should probably look something like this:
At my previous work, I had the idea to dedicate a few hours on Fridays to reviewing our efficiency. Our workload was lighter on Fridays anyway, so we were able to spend some time improving our work. I also implemented a secret shopper program, which is still in practice. I was very interested in improving accountability.