The purpose of the interview

After the long process of finding a job and spending hours preparing and submitting your resume, it is a thrill to be called for an interview. Perhaps because of the requirements of the application process, there is an illusion that the person with the longest list of qualifications is the one that gets the job. Therefore, many people focus their interview efforts on being able to list the projects they have worked on and describing their various positions.

Here is how it really works; every person being interviewed has already demonstrated they have the qualifications to justify being hired. The intent of the interview is to find the person that will best fit into the existing team for that position.

Reciting your qualifications tells the interviewer nothing about your strengths, your temperament, what you are looking for out of the job or even if you are enthused about the job.

Just as most people don't remember much about a resume, they won't remember much about you if you are reciting your resume. The resume gets you the interview, but the interview gets you the job.

Your educational qualifications and job experience give only a little insight as to how you work with others. It is equally important for them to know about your personal qualities, such as your temperament, listening skills, reasoning, energy and initiative.

The way you interact with the interviewer, the way you present yourself and the examples you choose to tell are how the interviewer forms an opinion on how your personality would fit into this position. Most of us have a hard time describing our strengths, goals and weaknesses, because it is something we seldom practice. But all of us have stories from our work and life that give some great insight as to the strengths we contribute to a job.

Telling a story of a hardship or triumph and how you handled it is a great way to demonstrate your strength of character and how you handle difficult situations. And the interviewer(s) will definitely remember you.

Karen Bolda, M.A., is a meeting facilitator and professional development trainer. She's lived in Ashland for 13 years where she operates her own consulting business. Visit her website at or contact her at Karen's workbook "Ace the Interview" is now available for purchase at

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