The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed Jennifer Boden, a human resources executive at Amazon. They asked Boden a series of questions regarding Amazon's recruiting efforts. Boden offered some keen insights. I found this particular exchange with the interviewer worth stressing here:
WSJ: What tends to trip candidates up in interviews?
Ms. Boden: Most people will trip up
when they focus on where they've been, the name, and they don't focus on
what they've done. Or if they can't explain to us the process of how
they delivered results.
Boden's observation confirms what I have seen many times over the years. I often tell students to NOT make the interview a recitation of their resume. The interviewer has read the resume! He or she knows where you went to school, what your GPA is, where you interned in prior years, and what awards you have won. What does the interviewer not know from looking at your resume? That's the key question. You have to talk about the major project you accomplished at your internship or the consulting report you put together for a client company as part of a business school course. You should describe the major community service initiative you led at your university or the honors thesis research project that you completed. An interview should be focused on telling several stories of hard work, organization, leadership, and achievement. Be prepared to talk about what you did, what you learned, and how you can apply those lessons to this organization.