What to know about yourself before the job interview

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Feb 12

Job interviews are challenging, especially since it takes great effort to get to the point of even getting the job interview. Consequently, you need to understand plenty about yourself before walking into this event. But what should you know?

Let me help. Job interviews are about ensuring you have the job skills to do the work, are motivated to do the work and to know that you will fit in with the team. Once you get past the screening interviews (usually by phone), the real issues are no longer about your job skills to do the work, but, instead, about your motivation to do the work and the fit you will have with the team.

One cannot underestimate the importance of why you want to do the work -- there will be very tough days out there where you get hit pretty hard. Not being motivated about the work you do will make it difficult to bounce back from these days.

As well, not fitting in with the team's culture -- decision-making style, level of conflict, performance and management style -- will make you uncomfortable at work. All the time. That will downgrade your job performance over time.

Thus, understanding your motivation for doing the work and knowing what types of work environments work best for you is critical, Cubicle Warrior knowledge.

What is your motivation to do the work?

If you are a programmer, why do you like programming? Is it the structure of the code you build? Is it because you can work by yourself?

Or, if you are a nurse, what do you like about being a nurse? Is it helping people? The technology of nursing? Working in a hospital instead of a clinic?

Some of this is simply examining what you like about the work you do, capturing it and being able to show what you like doing during a job interview.

The other question to ask yourself is this: after a really bad day at work, why do I still choose to do what I do? It is your choice, after all, to continue to do what you do. Answering this question gives you good insight into what motivates you to do the work.

What is the best work environment for you?

Do you love chaos or structure? Do you love creativity or tasks? Do you love to collaborate with others or have decisions made by a manager?

There are hundreds of these types of questions to ask yourself about your best working environment. I would suggest starting with, "When I worked best with a team was when the team....".  Then go to, "I worked best with my manager when...". Exploring the answers to those two questions will give you a good start on the best environment to show and do your work.

You must know yourself

Now, to be clear, some of us just need a job -- any job -- to get us through the Great Recession. Even if you take a job that doesn't match up with the best way that you work and is not the right motivating environment, you need to know your motivation and best work environment so you can influence where you are on the job.

This is really simple: you need to understand your motivation and best work environment or you will never get the corporate work experience that gives you satisfaction on the job.

When you had your best job ever, what made it so great?

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.