I know I usually talk about entrepreneurship and being your own boss, but I too started out with working a job. Honestly, if you feel lost and don’t know where to start with your idea then getting relevant experience in the field is a good place to start.
Work under someone you think you can learn from. Mentors are extremely valuable assets in your organization, people often forget to utilize them. When you are starting out in a field you don’t know much about, learning from people who have been involved for years will always bring you a fresh perspective.
No amount of reading and research can beat the insight that a person with experience can bring. You might be book smart, but street smarts come from networking with the right people. Your job will provide you with a great opportunity to connect with like-minded people.
“Before you build a better mousetrap, it helps to know if there are any mice out there.”
This is one of the reasons why you should be more focused on the organization than salary when you are starting out – and especially when your plan involves starting something of your own. Think of it as hands-on research.
When we talk about jobs, the first big hurdle is cracking interviews. No, this is not a cheat sheet on how to crack an interview at a particular company, job, or industry. This is about what the interviewer is generally looking for in a potential candidate.
Interviews are part of our lives. No matter what industry or job you are applying for, assessment is a part of the process. Rather than focusing on any specific industry, let’s talk about what are they looking in you? Is there a correct answer to every question? What are some of the most common questions and why do they ask them?
You Are Being Assessed Since the Minute You Walk In
Even if you’re applying for a job which is very skill dependent and you are very good at it, that is not the be-all and end-all, as they want to know how you carry yourself in a professional setting. Will you be a good fit in the office? Can you be a good fit in the team? Employers are more interested in these questions than you would think. The way you dress up for the occasion, the way you conduct yourself during the interview, and your confidence level, in general, is a great indication to the interviewer on whether you can take up the position you’re applying for or not.
How Will You Respond to Adversities?
A lot of questions in an interview of modern days deals with asking you about your experience when the ship wasn’t sailing smoothly. Your experience with difficulties in a team tells them about whether you’ll throw in the towel when the going gets tough, whether you’re a one-man-band or you can work as a team, delegate, and conquer the tough times efficiently.
Your behaviour in the past is a very good indication of your behaviour in the near future in similar situations. A very common question here is, “Tell me about a time when you worked well in a team and tell me about the time where things went sour, and how you dealt with it”.
People usually find themselves raving about the first part of the question, but what the interviewer is more keen about is the time when it went wrong and you could hold it together. This is also a very good question for the interviewer to check whether you are being honest with them as if you are making up a story, a few more questions about the details of your story might make you nervous.
How Are You as a Person and Will You Fit Their Team?
This is one of the things that is underestimated by the interviewee, they think it’s a nice thing to have but not essential, but it could not be farther from the truth. Companies don’t mind to hire a person who is not the best at the skill they are applying for, as long as they are a great learner and have an awesome attitude.
They need a person who will not budge in pressure and work for the team. Skill can be taught, but not personality. The cost of rehiring in terms of money and time is simply too high for a company to take a chance with a candidate who is not showing promise in terms of character. The interviewer may ask questions about the interviewee’s personal life, what they like to do in their spare time, asking about their views on day to day things. Smart companies want to hire the person, not the degrees.
Why Do You Want to Join Them
What Are You Looking to Gain From the Job
What is Your Vision
The interviewer is always interested in your motivation towards applying for the job. Are you in it just for the money? Are you casually interested? Having an answer of yes to the previous questions is not necessarily bad as long as you are honest with your position.
This is a good indication of your line of thinking and your decision making. The age-old question about, “where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?” does not necessarily just test your future preparedness but also your view on change, flexibility, unforeseen factors, and approach in general.
With the start-up culture, the 9-to-5 culture is changing as well. The boss and employee dynamics are changing for the good. More people have started realizing that working as a team is more important than maintaining the hierarchy. This makes the experience more about the person, so it is natural that they would want to invest in a person if they are building from scratch.
If you decide on working with a start-up, it is one of the best ways to gather actual experience. You might not have many mentors guiding you, but you will people you learn and grow with, and you will also get to be an integral part of the actual growth of the company.
The bottom line is, be honest in interviews, ask questions, clear doubts. In short, communicate, put yourself out there. Remember, it is just two people (or more, if there is more than one interviewer) communicating to find out if they are good fits for each other. Like they are looking for the right candidate, you are looking for the right company too.
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