Do you want my Job Interview Advice? There is nothing like being broke to put the pressure on you to ace that job interview. I had just moved to Abuja and had less than 30000 Naira in my account. My fledgling life as a digital marketer was just beginning to take off but the small income I got as a freelancer wasn’t enough to cover my bills and expenses. So, I found myself looking for a part-time or full-time job in a new city with few connections.
Eventually, I came across an opportunity to teach a seminar about digital marketing to participants and university students before. I have a very impressive list of certifications about digital marketing and met the qualification on paper. The position was everything I was looking for. It started immediately, was part-time and paid well. As a bonus, it would be fun and interesting work.
An hour before I was set to interview with the organizer of the seminar, I got a call from a friend, Henry. As I was talking about the opportunity, he could hear that I was nervous. I wanted this job.
Henry then asked me a question that completely changed and shifted my mindset;
“What is the contribution you want to make in this position”?
I paused and let out a deep breath, I told him that I know how formative and difficult universities are and that this seminar is about developing the critical skills for success in the academic environment. I said I wanted to help students learn those skills in a safe, supporting environment. So that they can be successful and take advantage of the same opportunity that education gave me.
It was sincere “Perfect”, Henry said. “Focus on that, and anything you say will be right”.
Here is what Henry knew that I didn’t. People respond to how we are more than what we say. In interviews, it’s normal to be nervous and hyperaware of the words that are coming out of your mouth. When you are nervous, you’re going to have thoughts like, did I get the answer right? What should I say next? Am I doing well? A lot of people have experienced this during job interviews. I have a teacher friend who told me that one of her worst days in front of her class was when she’s on the whiteboard writing and then her brains go, “you have no ideas what you’re talking about. . And suddenly she snaps out of it, she was just standing there, awkwardly doing nothing. So her Job Interview Advice to me was to not overthink it.
Good interviews happen when we show up engaged, and authentic. It would help also if you are present. Henry taught me to focus on the contribution you want to make through the job. This will help to take the pressure off the job. Remember you are there to have a conversation about a job you believe you could do well in. There are lots of Job Interview Advice out there, so be careful not to be misled.
My Job Interview
Only the call with Henry, I had a chance to put his advice to work when the moderator asked me a very direct question during my interview. “Research and privilege with determination are major themes in the course you would be teaching and students in the class tend to be very critical. Given your position as a young digital marketer, how would you respond if students questioned your ability to teach this topic?
You can imagine how this could have gone if I had been focused on saying the right thing. I probably would have attempted to string together some incoherent technical staff about the industry like I was reading off a script. Instead, I thought again about the contribution I wanted to make as a digital marketer and spoke from that. I acknowledge that this was a great question and shared my view that students should see the speakers and faculty as co-learner who guild their experience but don’t have all the answers. Finally, I told him that I would connect with other speakers to offer support to students as they engage in all these critical topics.
At the end of the interview, I was offered the job.
The Job Interview Advice.
So this is my job interview advice especially in Nigeria.
(1) Think about the contribution you love to make through the position you are applying for. Write it down and make sure to live it the same way you are going to respond to questions about it.
(2) Always ask your friend to pose the question. What is the contribution you love to make in this job? Now when answering, make sure your quality stands out and that you let it sink into your interviewer. Say it till you mean it.
(3) Always make sure to take a moment to remind yourself of the contribution. Focus and trust whatever words you say will be the right ones. Also, be confident and this comes from knowing your stuff.