Veterans: Ace the Interview and Land That Job

Preparing for Interview

Your resume may get you in the door, but your interview is what can land you the job. Whether you’re newly transitioned, or seeking a new opportunity in the civilian workforce, solid interview skills are a must for veteran jobseekers. Touting individual accomplishments is not always easy for veterans seeking jobs in the civilian sector, because the military culture emphasizes team effort and mission accomplishment over individual achievement.

The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) offers sample interview questions from HR managers, and what kind of information they hope to gain from your answer. Company XYZ wants to hire veterans. Their interview process may go something like this:

When an interviewer asks: “What’s the one thing that gives you inspiration and motivation to come to work every day?”

What he or she wants to learn: Whether candidates enjoy challenges and how they work with teammates. “Their answer gives me a feel for who they are underneath and how their personality will fit in with their team. If they talk about how they love to put their head down to tackle the pile of work on their desk, they’re showing that they’re highly task-oriented but might not succeed as part of a team.”

When an interviewer asks you to: “Talk about the most difficult project you’ve worked on—and how you managed all of the bits and pieces required to execute.”

What he or she hopes to find out: Candidates’ organizational skills and their ability to multitask and manage time. Your answer may also provide a general sense of the way people think and communicate.

When you’re asked: “What are you doing when you’re most productive in your job?”

What information is the interviewer seeking? How candidates relate on a personal level. “I want to know how they like doing the function of the role but also want to hear about who they like to interact with. I may ask them if they like to work with customers. I’ll get very different answers from cooks and salespeople, obviously, but the question is about learning how they interact with others.”

Overall, says Sue Byrne, HR manager for the Peters Corp., “I’m looking at how engaged they are with me. I listen to see whether they’re thinking about their answers and look for their sense of how a team should operate.”

Jennifer Robinson has a more unique approach. As the Senior Field Recruiter for Cash America, she sources talent for the company’s stores in 20 states. “I’ll often start a conversation by asking, ‘How’s life?’ If someone complains, that tells me a lot. I seek an attitude of gratitude. That is the most valuable attribute you can have in my book,” she said.

The full article from SHRM is available here.

Wednesday August 24, 2016