Interviewing for a job is tough, whether you’re actively or passively seeking. If it were so easy, people like me wouldn’t have to provide advice on how to interview. One of the challenges of the interview process is knowing yourself, really knowing yourself.
Before you even start the interview process, I’d like you to do a very simple exercise. Take it seriously, as it will give you a better sense of yourself and how you need to approach the interview process.
Some of you have done SWOT analysis at work, so you’re familiar with the concept. The acronym stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Below is a brief explanation of how a SWOT analysis is used in the work setting.
“SWOT analyses can serve as a precursor to any sort of company action, such as exploring new initiatives, making decisions about new policies, identifying possible areas for change, or refining and redirecting efforts midplan.” BusinessNewsDaily.com
From the diagram above, you can see how to handle the four components of a SWOT analysis. Let’s go through all four components.
When you analyze your strengths, think about the those that will help you for the position for which you’re applying. Try to address as many of them in the job posting you can. Further, think about how you can achieve at each one.
Here is a list of skills for a specific marketing specialist position:
1. Innovation. You have demonstrated innovative approaches to create marketing campaigns. You introduced one company for which you worked to paperless marketing, social media to another, and virtual tradeshows to your previous company.
2. Business to business marketing. You’ve done this successfully for many years. Included among many of your business partner are seven blue-chip companies.
3. Strategic Thinking. You’ve demonstrated the “ability to think strategically and analytically to ensure successful marketing campaign execution” and can come up with numerous times you’ve done this.
4. Cross-Functional Work. You’ve worked across multiple organizations, including engineering, sales, fiance, webdesign. You’ve demonstrated excellent interpersonal skills.
5. Understanding Customer Behavior. At your previous position, this was a large part of what you did. You worked with business development to determine the best way to target marketing efforts.
6. Strong written and verbal communication skills. You can prove this with the experience you’ve had communicating through written and verbal communications with the press, trade magazines, partners, and customers.
7. The Required Soft Skills. “Solid organizational and project management skills” and “attention to detail and demonstrated ability to multi-task.”
Try to think of at least 10 strengths that you can apply to this position and others.
Be honest about listing your weaknesses. Determine how you can overcome these weaknesses, as it is important to demonstrate in an interview not only that you have weaknesses but also how you can overcome them.
1. Business to Customer. You have limited experience to this type of marketing, but you’ve shown the ability to interact well with consumers as a retail associate and, therefore understand their needs.
2. Working with Certain Departments. You have limited experience working closely with internal marketing analytics teams to define requirements for product test plans and campaign analysis.
Be honest with yourself and try to think of three or more weaknesses.
Opportunities can be anything that makes a job appealing, such as work-life balance, commute, increased income, opportunity for advancement, landing a job quickly.
Great Working Environment. From talking with people you know at the company, you know the company offers team unity, opportunity for advancement.
Work with Previous Colleague. Your previous boss and you got on very well when you were at Company X. You look forward to working with her again.
Your network is strong. This will provide you with many opportunities for a position like this one. You know people in management, as well as others who work there. Companies prefer to hire those they known, e.g., referrals.
The more examples of opportunities you can think of, the more positive you’ll feel about any jobs for which you apply.
Threats are factors that are difficult, if not possible, to overcome. These can be sticking points during an interview.
Education Requirement. You lack a Bachelor’s degree in what the company desires (Business, Economics, Marketing, Mathematics) and have no resources to acquire one. There is a loophole that says “or a related one.” Your degree in English has served you well in the past.
Experience. “Previous marketing internship experience” is a red flag. It appears that the company is looking for younger, less expensive candidates. Perhaps the company will consider a more experienced employee for the position, or they might develop a position more senior for you.
Some threats can be overcome with a little imagination.
In the next post we look at the importance of research, research, research before the interview.
This post originally appeared in Recruiter.com.
Photo: Flickr, Torkel Pettersson