Today in, “Apparently, You Just Can’t Win,” we have an Ask a Manager reader who was told by an HR person that her interview answers were just too perfect. Also in this week’s roundup: the best careers for extroverts, and the three types of job interview questions and how answer them.
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Alison Green at Ask a Manager: Is It Possible to Prepare Too Much for an Interview?
A reader writes in to ask Green:
Several months ago, I attended an interview and was stopped halfway by the HR person to ask how I had prepared for the interview. I was surprised, as I was in the middle of answering a question, and I responded that I had practiced a lot with friends and colleagues. (Note: I had really wanted this job and basically practiced, practiced and practiced.)
The HR person said, “Hmm okay.” I asked if there was any problem, and she said that my answers were a bit too perfect and I was too fluent in my answers. Naturally, this flustered me a bit.
Her question: is it possible to prepare too much for a job interview, or was this HR person out of line? Green’s response will help you walk the line between preparation and rote memorization.
The internet teems with advice for introverts, but what about extroverts? Their career needs are just as specialized, and they’ll be just as unhappy if they’re forced to go through life working at the wrong job.
“If you are extroverted, you are energized by other people and outside experiences,” McKay writes. “You don’t absolutely have to be around other people all the time, but when you are, you are more motivated. As an extrovert, you are better off choosing an occupation in which you could work with other people.”
Her recommendations include everything from sales representative to clinical psychologist to urban planner – something, in other words, for every extrovert – and good food for thought, even if none of the specific occupations make you want to head back to school tomorrow to retrain.
The worst part of trying to prepare for a job interview is guessing which questions they’re going to ask you. The good news? According to Trunk, there are really only three types of questions to be asked.
For example, the classic question:
Tell me about yourself? or What are you passionate about? or Where do you see yourself in five years?
Even though each of these questions seems quite different, it’s actually the same question. It means, “Okay. Let’s get started. You first. I want you to do the talking.”
The right answer to all those questions is a story. There is a story of your life that tells people how you got to where you are. There are a million stories within each person’s life. Each story is a true story with a different focus or theme. The focus of the story you tell to answer the question is how everything you did leading up to now has made you a great candidate for this particular job.
Find out what the other two are, and how to handle each type, at Penelope Trunk’s blog.
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