So, if you are the best-qualified, why wouldn’t you get the job offer? Well, my candidate screening has demonstrated that many very highly qualified people simply are not prepared to describe their work to outsiders, and thus do not rate very highly in interview situations. Diligent, loyal workers, performing their tasks professionally are not typically challenged to describe their responsibilities in detail, and naturally can have more difficulty doing so in a second language (such as at multinationals that interview in English).
“Tell me about yourself” or “Tell me about your work” are common though dreaded interview questions. Both are an invitation to show exactly what value you brought to your former employer and what value you can bring to your potential employer. This is Not the time to be generalized, vague, or shy. Too many people feel it is adequate for them to give a one-word description such as, “I’m professional”, “I think of myself as hard-working” or “I’m a detail-oriented person”. This is not enough. These are just opening statements, and you should proceed to explain your statement with supporting examples. Not doing so can be costly. Obviously, mock interviews are one way to improve your self-description abilities. Practicing presentations or taking part in sales training courses can also be helpful.
And let’s not forget your resume. Language capability requirements vary due to the nature of the job, obviously. An article by the CEO of iFixit (here) highlights the importance of good grammar. But while spellcheck is a useful tool, spelling errors can still be missed—many resumes come across my desk with the word ‘manger’ being used instead of ‘manager’. Such a simple error can give a bad impression, especially if you claim to be “detail-oriented”, and you may not be invited for an interview as a result. So make sure to double- and triple-check your resume for errors. If necessary, ask a friend for a second opinion.
Can you share a case where you were passed over for a job, or a promotion, due to poor self-description skills? Or a case where you were successful after preparing more diligently? Please feel free to share your story below!