Are you considering getting a GED but are concerned that it might not return what you will invest into it? Do you feel that employers will choose a candidate with a high school diploma over a candidate with a GED? This isn’t always the case. Your interview skills can be more of a credential than anything you could put on a resume.
Taking the time and the effort to get your GED shows more consideration and thought about your future professional growth than you may initially realize. By getting your GED you’re essentially preparing for professional training and showing an active willingness to do so. Employers – good employers – realize this, and there are crucial interview strategies that will bring this point home.
Tone and Body Language
According to Casey Hawley, author of the book “Job-Winning Answers to the Hardest Interview Questions”, it is important to maintain a positive tone and confident body language during your interview. Employers want to see that you can communicate positively. They want to keep their work environment pleasant and they want potential customers to feel comfortable around you. They also want to know that you are confident in yourself and your ability to do the job. If you’re not sure of yourself, how are they going to be sure of you?
Let’s face it – interviews can be nerve-wracking. Remember that the people you are speaking to are simply trying to get to know you. They have also had to interview before and they understand that it can be hard to maintain the picture of pure confidence. If you understand these interview strategies, however, a positive tone and body language will come naturally.
Know the Company, Know the Industry
Casey also explains that there are many benefits to researching the company you are interviewing for and the industry before the interview. Not only are you able to answer the questions in ways that directly relate to the job, but you are able to feel confident knowing that you have “fun facts” you can use to bolster the conversation if it begins to lull. Having this confidence will help you maintain the positive tone and body language mentioned above.
It is also important to be current. Employers want to know that you know what is going on with them right now, not last year. For example, if you are interviewing for a company that heavily utilizes technology, make sure you are aware of that technology. Often times, being “in the know and in the now” can be as easy as liking a Facebook page. If the company you are interested in has a Facebook page, make sure their updates land on your newsfeed.
Life isn’t a straight line. It is a journey that often leads us left and right, up and down. However, the black and white letters on a resume do not properly convey this. Perhaps you took some time before or after getting your GED, working odd-jobs, raising a family, or figuring out who you are. That’s okay, as long as you paint the picture of your experiences in a way that shows some sort of professional growth; you can describe growth in many areas – interpersonal skills, time management skills, organizational skills, learning about the industry on your own time, etc.
Describing Weaknesses as Potential Attributes
Although these types of questions seem like trick questions, employers aren’t out to get you. Employers just want to know what they could potentially be dealing with. Every employee has their own set of weaknesses. Don’t shy away from this question by saying that you do not have any weaknesses. Employers will see right through this. You’re human!
Explain a situation in which you may have missed a deadline at work or school, organized poorly leading to a downfall, or got into a disagreement with a coworker – whatever experience you may have had. You don’t need to get into too much detail about the situation, employers mainly want to hear what you learned from the situation and what you are eager to do differently in the future.
At the end of the interview, potential employers often ask you if you have any questions. This is your chance to show them the true interest you have in not only getting the job, but in the company and what it stands for. Ask questions about what’s going on in the company currently (another benefit of being in the know!). Ask about what the employer is looking forward to in the next year in regard to the position: what do they want to see changed, what do they want to see maintained?
References: Hawley, C. (2001). Job-Winning Answers to the Hardest Interview Questions. New York: Fine Communications.
About Leah Staub
Leah Staub studied Sociology with an emphasis on Education at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is passionate about helping students find success in their professional and personal lives.