Before & After Answers to Commonly-Asked Job Interview Questions.
In this one, the interviewer switches to Spanish because your resume says that you speak Spanish:
I see on your resume that you speak Spanish–cuénteme más de eso.
When interviewers ask this question, they don’t want to know about your study of Spanish; they want you to prove that you speak Spanish while talking about your professional skills–preferably as they apply to the position you’re interviewing for.
First, watch the “before” answer that the candidate gave when he had no idea what question was coming his way–he spoke in Spanish, but about his Spanish instead of his professional skills, experience & qualifications.
This is exactly what will happen to you if you don’t practice and prepare for the most commonly-asked job interview questions. Sure, there will be some curve balls, but this isn’t one–you have to be ready to answer any question about your resume since that’s a document that you prepared. It doesn’t look good to be caught off guard by questions about your resume! (See this post on how to put language skills on your resume.)
After a few minutes of brainstorming, workshopping and practicing his answer to the question about his Spanish, he had a great answer about the professional workplace that he was able to deliver in Spanish: watch this “after” answer.
Here we see Spanish used to illustrate how those language skills are useful in the workplace–and specifically how they benefit the employer. In a real interview, he would conclude his answer by saying explicitly how he would deploy those skills and experiences in the specific job he’s interviewing for. And this is where doing your homework and knowing about the organization and what its pain points are is essential because you can basically say “this example shows that I solve your problem.”
Throughout the spring, I will add more of these “before and after” videos that contrast spontaneous answers to commonly-asked interview questions with more practiced, prepared answers. Look for more next week…
Darcy Lear is a career coach specializing in academic writing, job search documents, professional school applications, and interview preparation. To schedule a campus workshop or for help navigating your career transition, contact Darcy: firstname.lastname@example.org The mock interviews were conducted with University of Illinois Urbana Champaign students from Ann Abbott’s “Spanish and Entrepreneurship” course who worked with me on my social media presence as part of their course project in spring 2015.