Your Career Journey Part 2: Job Interviews - Mind Tools (2023)

This is Part Two of a three-part series called Your Career Journey. .

Preparation, Preparation, PREPARATION!

So you've applied to a few positions of interest and have received a couple of invitations for job interviews. Congratulations!You have transitioned from a job applicant to a job candidate.

The next big event is preparing to meet face-to-face (in person or virtually) with your prospective employer.Here are tips to get you started:

  • Get comfortable describing your experience as it relates to the vacant position.
  • Know the specific interview questions or topics or that are illegal to ask and understand how to respond.
  • Be able to identify the company outreach effort that resonates most with you and why.
  • Be comfortable discussing how the company's philosophy aligns with your values.
  • Review your references to check all contact details are up to date.
  • Be ready to backup your résumé claims through recruitment tests (e.g. typing speed, website design, editing or writing tasks, etc.)
  • Know the industry average salary and range for the position, so you don't undercut yourself at negotiation time.
  • Bring hard copies of your résumé, references, clearances, test results, and presentation deck (every document you were requested to send, including a few extras).These will also act as handy references you can glance at if the nerves kick in.
  • Have a flash drive for quick electronic access or sharing.

During Job Interviews:Are You the One?

We asked the Coaching Team to share some of their memorable job interview experiences, as either the interviewer or interviewee. Here's what each had to say.

Demonstrate How You "Match" the Organization

Your Career Journey Part 2: Job Interviews - Mind Tools (1)

Coach Mike Barzacchini explains how illustrating how your unique skills and experience can solve problems for the organization can help you win over recruiters...

"When I interview for a job, I try to apply my experience to what I feel the company seeks. What can I bring that adds value? How can I serve and solve? I let this approach guide my answers and my questions.Sharing a case study – a real example of how your work made a difference for a former employer – is a great way to win over a potentially skeptical interview team. It's even better if you can relate how that type of work would make a difference for their organization. My favorite advice to job applicants is to make sure to communicate what makes them excited, uniquely interested in, and qualified for the position."

(Video) don't move!!!!!! #squidgame

Listen Out for "Alarm Bells"

Your Career Journey Part 2: Job Interviews - Mind Tools (2)

Not every interview, however, is a "bed of roses." Coach Zala Bricelj reveals how sometimes the interview can unearth hard truths or even raise "alarm bells" ...

"It's when it becomes apparent that there is a reason why the employer has a high turnover and/or is repeatedly searching for potential candidates. It's those times in the interviewing process when it's clear that leadership, HR and departments are off-synch or working in their own siloed workplaces, and it all comes out in the meeting with the interviewers.

"I have experienced a few situations like this. One time they said to my face that my résumé was too good and I should be searching for a job abroad and not waste time in my homeland. Another time, the interviewer told me that the job posting was just an "official need-to-do" and that the company already had a candidate lined up. And the cherry on top? I went in for an interview that became a promotion for an MLM pyramid scheme."

Show Empathy and Compassion

Your Career Journey Part 2: Job Interviews - Mind Tools (3)

Coaching team leader Yolande Conradie reminds us to be empathetic and compassionate with others...

"I always appreciated interviewees who came prepared. To me, that's someone who's done some research about the company and is able to ask pertinent questions about it.I learned not to look at appearance too hard because I live in a country where many people are poor. However, I could always see when someone has tried to make a good impression – even if their clothes were old and their shoes worn.Another reality of South Africa is that many people who use English as their business language are third- or fourth-language English speakers. I had to learn to listen past language errors unless proficiency in English was a job requirement. (Ditto their résumés. Poverty often means that people don't have money to have their résumé produced professionally.)"

(Video) Schein's Career Anchors

Are You the Good Cop or the Bad Cop?

Your Career Journey Part 2: Job Interviews - Mind Tools (4)

Coach Sarah Harvey shares how she learned that sometimes the way we think we're presenting ourselves can be very different to how we're being perceived...

"The most memorable experience for me was when I was leading a whole set of interviews of internal candidates as part of a departmental restructuring. I chaired every interview and was joined by a range of managers who would work alongside me to recruit the roles within their teams.

"People thanked us for our professionalism, and many commented on the robustness of the process, describing it as a 'good cop, bad cop' experience. 'That’s nice,' I said to one interviewee, as this had by then become common feedback, 'I'm pleased I've been the warm and friendly face of a potentially difficult organizational process.'

"'Oh no,' they told me, 'You’re the bad cop! You ask really challenging questions and won't let things go on face value.' I had no idea I'd come across that way. And it was really powerful learning for me which I've been mindful of in every interview since. It goes to show interviews can provide a positive learning experience not only for interviewees but for interviewers, too."

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Job Interview Hacks

During a job interview, it can be hard to remember all the things you want to ask and say, so here are some handy hacks to help you get the most out of the experience:

  • Bring a small list of questions about the position or company. The recruiter may answer them before you need to ask, but it's always good to have a reminder somewhere of the key questions you may have gathered during your job prep.
  • Check your appearance – before you leave and before the interview begins.
  • Top candidates often set themselves apart because they bring genuine enthusiasm and curiosity about the role. So be sure this comes across in your interview.
  • Be honest about what you can deliver, and your expectations.
  • Never lie in an interview. Irrespective of what people tell you, do not "fake it till you make it." Chances are that you'll be unmasked because faking often leads to mistakes – and mistakes cost money.
  • At the end of the interview, remember to thank the recruiters and note down relevant decision dates and recruitment process methods that they need to adhere to. If the recruiter hasn't already mentioned these details, be sure to ask so you know what's likely to happen next.
  • If you haven't heard back, send a follow up after two to three days. Be polite and remember to thank them for the opportunity.
  • Most importantly... be truthful, be honest and be yourself!

Let's Continue The Conversation About Job Interviews

Your Career Journey Part 2: Job Interviews - Mind Tools (6)

We want to explore the topic of job interviews further... what has worked for you? And what hasn't? When have you had a great job interview? And when did it go dramatically wrong?

We'll be hosting a number of exciting coaching conversations on our social media channels over the next week to talk through our experiences. These will also be a great opportunity to access the wonderful wealth of experience our coaches have, as you navigate your own career journey.

(Video) Kevin Griffin — The Greatest Song: Spark Creativity, Ignite Your Career, and Transform Your Life

We'll be hosting an #MTtalk on Job Interviews on Wednesday, May 24th @ 12 noon ET. Anyone can join! Simply follow us on Twitter, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function and click on "Latest" – you'll then be able to follow the live chat feed. You can participate in the chat by using the hashtag #MTtalk in your responses.

On Thursday, May 25th at 11 a.m. ET, members of our Career Community Facebook group will be able to join a 20-minute Facebook Live conversation and question session.

And, finally, on Friday, May 26th we will release a short coaching video on our Mind Tools Coaching Hub on LinkedIn, which is exclusive to Mind Tools Club members.

Explore More Resources at Mind Tools...

If you want to discover more job interview tips and techniques, check out the following from Mind Tools. (Note that you will need to be a Mind Tools Club or Corporate member to see the resources in full).

How to Prep for a Job Interview
How to Answer Interview Questions
Interview Skills
How to Ace a Video Interview
Tricky Interview Questions: Tell Me About Yourself
Tricky Interview Questions: What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
Tricky Interview Questions: Why Do You Want This Job?

About the Author

Your Career Journey Part 2: Job Interviews - Mind Tools (7)
(Video) Kiss Or Get Off The Pot (Season 4, Episode 22) | Full Episode | Dance Moms

Sonia is an experienced meeting & event manager with over 20 years in conferences, exhibits, and corporate social events. She also owns a visual branding company.

Sonia joined the Mind Tools coaching team in 2021, and enjoys connecting people with resources to help them reach their goals. In her spare time, she is a photo enthusiast who reviews products, completes store scavenger hunts, and explores nail art/design.


How do you answer the question what is your career journey? ›

You have two main objectives when answering the question, “What are your career aspirations?”: Demonstrate that your aspirations align with the company's vision and long-term goals. Show the interviewer how the role will help you gain the skills and experience necessary to achieve your career aspirations.

What are the 10 most common interview questions with answers? ›

10 most common interview questions and answers
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What attracted you to our company?
  • Tell me about your strengths.
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Tell me about a time where you encountered a business challenge?

How to answer situational interview questions and answers? ›

How to Answer Situational Interview Questions About Job-Specific Skills
  1. Identify the skills you need. They're listed in the job ad.
  2. Come up with a time you used each skill.
  3. Identify the problem and how you used the skill to solve it.
  4. Figure out a measure for how the company benefited.
Mar 15, 2023

How do you tell your career journey in an interview? ›

You can use the following tips to help craft your narrative:
  1. Discuss what you want to do. Tell the hiring manager what your goals are for work. ...
  2. Share your motivation. After discussing the work that you want to do, remember to tell them about your motivation to do it. ...
  3. Understand your unique qualifications. ...
  4. Be authentic.
Dec 15, 2022

How do you write a career journey example? ›

Here are the steps you can follow to write your own career story:
  • Write an opening statement. Start your career story with an engaging opening statement to captivate your audience. ...
  • Describe the main points of your career. ...
  • Discuss your career goals. ...
  • Include a call to action. ...
  • Proofread your story.
Nov 28, 2022

What kind of goals would you have in mind if you got this job? ›

Talk about goals that fit with the goals of the company. Talk about the plans you would set in motion to reach those goals. This makes them seem more attainable to the interviewer. Discuss what past experiences would help you in your quest to reach those goals.

What is a career goal statement example? ›

My career goal is to be a full-time writer in five years. To achieve this, I plan to work on freelance writing projects to help build up my portfolio, attend writing workshops and read one book per quarter on how to improve my writing.

How does this position fit your career goals answer? ›

Consider sharing how your past roles have helped you pursue your ultimate career goals, including specific skills you've developed and relevant experiences you've had. Additionally, you might describe how your last position has prepared you to work in the role for which you're interviewing.

What are the 5 hardest interview questions and answers? ›

The most difficult interview questions (and answers)
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What's something that you didn't like about your last job?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • How do you deal with conflict with a co-worker?
  • Here's an answer for you.

What do you say when you tell me about yourself? ›

Your answer to the "tell me about yourself" question should describe your current situation, your past job experience, the reason you're a good fit for the role, and how you align with the company values. Tell the interviewer about your current position and a recent big accomplishment or positive feedback you received.

What are the 3 most popular questions asked at any interview? ›

Common interview questions
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in working for this company?
  • Tell me about your education.
  • Why have you chosen this particular field?
  • Describe your best/worst boss.
  • In a job, what interests you most/least?
  • What is your major weakness?

How do you answer tricky questions in an interview? ›

Try not to get flustered, and keep in mind that interviewers are likely more interested in how you respond, rather than your precise answer. Be strategic in your response to tricky questions—and any interview questions—and aim to give replies that paint you in a positive way as a candidate.

How do you pass situational interview questions? ›

5 Strategies for Situational Interview Success
  1. Understand what the interviewer is looking for in your response.
  2. Create an “Interview Box”
  3. Tell a good story.
  4. Hold a situational interview dress rehearsal.
  5. Expect the unexpected.

How do you handle stress and pressure? ›

Taking steps to manage stress
  1. Track your stressors. Keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them. ...
  2. Develop healthy responses. ...
  3. Establish boundaries. ...
  4. Take time to recharge. ...
  5. Learn how to relax. ...
  6. Talk to your supervisor. ...
  7. Get some support.
Jul 1, 2014

What is a career journey? ›

A career path is a list of steps to take in your professional life for progressing into different or more advanced roles at work. It's a series of jobs and experiences that help employees reach their ultimate career objectives and future goals.

What is an example sentence for career path? ›

Examples of career path

His career path into management has surprised no one who knows him. One career path is that of higher education leading to a professional career with high occupational prestige. Yet regardless of his career path, he has found a purpose here.

How do I plan my career journey? ›

6 Steps for Career Planning
  1. Step 1: Explore Career Options. ...
  2. Step 2: Conduct Field Research. ...
  3. Step 3: Determine Your Job Target. ...
  4. Step 4: Build Your Credentials and Resume. ...
  5. Step 5: Prepare for Your Job Search. ...
  6. Step 6: Launch Your Job Search.

How do I write my own journey? ›

5 Tips on How to Write About Your Journey
  1. 5 Tips on How to Write About Your Journey. Everyone wants to have a written piece about their life. ...
  2. Think About Your Emotions and Senses. ...
  3. Identify Major Life Moments. ...
  4. Write it All Down. ...
  5. Find a Theme. ...
  6. Read Other Memoirs for Inspiration.
Mar 3, 2021

Why should we hire you answers? ›

“I should be hired for this role because of my relevant skills, experience, and passion for the industry. I've researched the company and can add value to its growth. My positive attitude, work ethics, and long-term goals align with the job requirements, making me a committed and valuable asset to the company.”

What do you hope to achieve in your career? ›

Gain a general knowledge of everything you can learn in your industry. Own your failures and share the credit of your successes. Accept that there will always be someone who knows more than you do about certain subjects. Work harder than everyone else on the team, no matter your position.

What five words best describe your personality? ›

Sample Words
20 more rows

How do I describe my career goals essay? ›

A career goals essay refers to a piece of writing that explains which career path you wish to pursue and what you want to achieve. In the essay, you'll write about your career aspirations, relevant achievements that put you in a better position to fulfill your goals and ways your ambitions can help you go even further.

What is a good career objective statement? ›

General career objective examples

To secure a challenging position in a reputable organization to expand my learnings, knowledge, and skills. Secure a responsible career opportunity to fully utilize my training and skills, while making a significant contribution to the success of the company.

What is your career vision statement? ›

Your career vision is simply a statement or picture of what you want your future to look like. This exercise can help you develop your own career vision by clarifying your future goals and values and understanding how who you are and what you believe relates to what you are doing.

What makes you best fit for this position? ›

In particular, my sales skills and managerial experience make me an ideal candidate for the position. For example, at my last job, I managed a sales team of five employees, and we had the top sales record of our company branch. I can bring my successes and experiences to this job.

What is a good answer to greatest weakness? ›

Answer “what is your greatest weakness” by choosing a skill that is not essential to the job you're applying to and by stressing exactly how you're practically addressing your weakness. Some skills that you can use as weaknesses include impatience, multitasking, self-criticism, and procrastination.

What do you consider your strength? ›

In general, your strengths should be skills that can be supported through experience. For example, if you list communication as a strength, you may want to recall a situation in which you used communication to reach a goal or resolve a problem.

Why are you interested in this position? ›

I see this opportunity as a way to contribute to an exciting/forward-thinking/fast-moving company/industry, and I feel I can do so by/with my …” “I feel my skills are particularly well-suited to this position because …” “I believe I have the type of knowledge to succeed in this role and at the company because …”

Why would you want this opportunity? ›

Talk about specific examples of how you can help this company achieve their goals and highlight any relevant transferrable skills that will make you stand out as the right candidate. Write down any recent achievements you can talk about or any challenges you've faced recently that might be related to this new job.

How do you introduce yourself? ›

A self-introduction should include your name and occupation (or desired occupation) and key facts that will help you make an impression on the person you're communicating with. In a few sentences, cover the most important things others need to know about you.

What are the three C's for interviews? ›

When it comes to interviewing, confidence, competence, and credibility are essential tools for success and often elude even the most experienced investigators.

What are 3 questions not to ask in an interview? ›

  • Questions You Should Never Ask in a Job Interview.
  • Anything Related to Salary or Benefits. ...
  • Questions That Start With “Why?” ...
  • “Who is Your Competition?” ...
  • “How Often Do Reviews Occur?” ...
  • “May I Arrive Early or Leave Late as Long as I Get My Hours In?” ...
  • “Can I Work From Home?” ...
  • “Would You Like to See My References?”

What color is best for interview? ›

The best colors to wear to an interview are ones that are neutral such as black, navy, gray and brown. White is also an appropriate neutral color for a shirt or blouse. Depending on your preference, you can also add a bit of color to an interview outfit to introduce your own personality.

What is the most tricky interview questions? ›

Tell me about a time you made a mistake. Questions about past mistakes are some of the toughest and trickiest interview questions to answer. You want to acknowledge the mistake (and never badmouth or blame others), but you never want to make yourself seem like a liability or a risk to hire for this new job!

Can I give short answers in an interview? ›

Interview answers should be 30 seconds to four minutes, depending on the context of the questions. Your response may be short (30 seconds to two minutes) if the question is simple.

What are the four major tips in answering the questions during an interview? ›

Take A Pause Before Answering A Question

Create a mental list of points to include in your response. Do not wander off the point, and answer directly, covering all main points of the questions. Be sure to answer all parts of the employer's question.

What is a good example of going above and beyond? ›

General Examples

Working overtime and/or weekends with or without being asked. Doing something outside your job description because a responsible party was unavailable. Taking responsibility for someone else's error and resolving it in a positive way for everyone involved; your employer particularly.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? ›

Answer for “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” “In five years, I see myself as an integral part of the company who has helped contribute to the growth and success of the organization. I would like to continue developing my skills and knowledge in order to be able to take on more responsibility within the company.

How do you say you can work under pressure? ›

How to demonstrate your work under pressure abilities on your resume:
  1. Provide examples of your planning skills.
  2. Explain why you work well under pressure, and how pressure helps you to do your work more efficiently.
  3. Describe your experience working under pressure and how you learn to work well during deadlines.

Can you work under pressure interview question? ›

The answer is Yes. We surely can work under stress but the cons in working under pressure or stress is that it hinders or blocks your creativity and ability to take smart decisions. So to overcome this situation, we should stay calm and breathe more.

Can you work under pressure and deal with deadlines? ›

It's possible to deal with high-pressure deadlines by taking the right approach. Planning your work out, communicating with those around you, and taking an active approach to your working life can make all the difference.

How do you describe your career journey? ›

Focus on the big achievements, the things you're most proud of, notable promotions and the steps that got you to where you are today! We recommend getting your career story down to 30-60 seconds max. That's plenty of time to give the rundown of your career path, we promise!

What is the meaning of career journey? ›

A career is the journey that includes all your jobs, experiences, and training. The real difference between a job and a career is your attitude. People who want a career are always thinking about their long-term goals. They are thinking about what they can do now to make those goals happen in the future.

What's your ideal career journey? ›

Understanding what motivates you is the first step in defining your ideal career path. Your passion does not necessarily have to be a specific job or industry. Your motivation can be something like “helping others” or “feeling good about yourself,” and you can explore many paths to fulfill these desires.

What is a career path journey? ›

A career path is a list of steps to take in your professional life for progressing into different or more advanced roles at work. It's a series of jobs and experiences that help employees reach their ultimate career objectives and future goals.

What is career path description example? ›

Example career paths

Here are a few examples of career paths in various industries: Education: Teacher → curriculum coordinator → assistant principal → principal. Retail: Sales associate → cashier → assistant manager → store manager → regional manager.

How do you describe a career opportunity? ›

Career opportunities refer to any opportunities that take you closer to your career goals. This can be a job, an internship opportunity or a training programme that helps you excel in your career.

What are the four 4 kinds of career path? ›

There are four types of career paths—knowledge-based, skill-based, entrepreneur-based, and freelance. Every kind of career path caters to a specific set of qualifications that help you perform your job.

What is your career path interview questions? ›

What skills or knowledge would make you better at your current role? What made you look for a new job? What are you looking for in your next position? Do you think this position aligns with your professional goals?

What is a career example? ›

A career could mean working as a doctor, lawyer, teacher, carpenter, veterinary assistant, electrician, cashier, teacher or hairstylist.

What is the importance of career journey? ›

The process of career planning helps the individual to be aware of various career opportunities. Life as we see every day has become fast paced and highly competitive, having a career plan will give you clarity when selecting the right profession for you and also help you set your priorities right.

How do I start a career journey? ›

How to start a career
  1. Make a list of your interests and talents. Create a list of your hobbies, skills and passions. ...
  2. Consider your career preferences. ...
  3. Review your qualifications. ...
  4. Research industries and careers. ...
  5. Consider volunteering or interning. ...
  6. Find a mentor. ...
  7. Pursue the right qualifications. ...
  8. Apply for positions.
Feb 16, 2023

How would you describe yourself? ›

Sample answers:

I am a hard-working and driven individual who isn't afraid to face a challenge. I'm passionate about my work and I know how to get the job done. I would describe myself as an open and honest person who doesn't believe in misleading other people and tries to be fair in everything I do.

What is most important for career growth? ›

Build your communication, teamwork, and leadership skills

If you want to progress in your career path, becoming a great communicator, team player, and leader is essential. For example, communication skills can help you succeed in interviews or speak up about the promotion you deserve.

What are the five stages of career path? ›

The five career stages are:
  • Exploration. Typical age range: 21-25. Exploration refers to the stage before gaining permanent employment. ...
  • Establishment. Typical age range: 25-35 years old. ...
  • Mid-career. Typical age range: 35-45 years old. ...
  • Late-career. Typical age range: 45-55 years old. ...
  • Decline. Typical age range: 55-65 years old.
Mar 28, 2023

How do you build a successful career? ›

Here are eight ways to build a successful career:
  1. Identify your goals. Knowing your objectives is an important part of building a successful career. ...
  2. Make a plan. ...
  3. Stay positive. ...
  4. Reflect often. ...
  5. Practice mindfulness. ...
  6. Network effectively. ...
  7. Know your strengths and weaknesses. ...
  8. Keep a growth-oriented mindset.
Jul 21, 2022


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