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What to Talk About During a Job Interview

Four tips from Career Development on what to say – and what not to say – to make the best impression you can during the all-important job-interview process.

Speak To A Skill

Most employers have very particular needs when they make the decision to bring in someone new. What matters first and foremost to an interviewer is that the skills that you have developed relate directly to the work that they currently do. Identify the skills that current employees are using to get the job done and show the interviewer that you can do that too.

Labor of Love

Filter your answers through the lens of personal experience. Create responses using your past work experience but also talk about the work that no one pays you to do. Any work that is faintly creative tends to be a labor of love. I would bet a healthy percentage of you have work that you do in your spare time. A new animation, a band you promote, a screenplay perhaps. The success these projects is of little significance. The important thing is that you are doing the work because you enjoy doing it. This speaks to a greater commitment to your craft.

Sample Questions

A Google search will quickly yield plenty of sample questions that you might expect to hear during an interview. It is important to familiarize yourself with these examples. Know too that, in smaller shops, interviews can be quite casual and the inquiries that come your way will speak more to the passion that drives the business. Chances are you already talk about these things on a regular basis with your family, friends, and colleagues. Or maybe you just shout at your television. What you might not realize is that this can be great inspiration for interview fodder. If you are passionate about the industry, then you are talking about it, and you are most definitely reading about it. Discuss what you have read. The person you are interviewing with has probably read the same article, or at least knows of the publication.

Avoid Cliché’s

Canned responses wont help you so if that’s all you’ve got, its time for a new strategy. Here is an example of a less than inspiring statement: “I work well with others.” And another: “I have a strong work ethic and I am very detail oriented”. Well I should hope so! Work ethic, communication, reliability, etc. are entry-level expectations. In addition, these are things that have to be demonstrated in person, on the job site. Interviewers aren’t going to take your word for it; they will want evidence. Now, if you can demonstrate your actual attention to detail you will make a real impression. If you say, “I’m very detail-oriented, just look at this this session screen shot. I’ve consolidated all my fades, there are zero unused files in my audio folder, region names are formatted, my tracks are labeled, grouped and color-coded. You can even see set-up comments on every track!” That is an undeniable demonstration. If possible, everything in your interview should go something like that. Say it and then show it.

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