Although this can sound like a daunting question, your interviewers are actually giving you a great opportunity to showcase your relevant skills and experience. It is also a chance to explain what you can offer that other candidates can’t. As it is such a common question, your interviewers will expect you to have a good answer lined up. If you prepare well, you will really impress your interviewers with your knowledge of the company, the role, and how you can bring real value to the business. Failure to prepare will mean that you don’t seem committed to the role.
How to prepare
Do your research well before you are due to face the interview panel. Read the job description thoroughly and have a look at the company’s website to determine which attributes the particularly value. In the job ad, did they ask for very specific engineering skills, experience, a team player, a self-starter or someone highly organised? Does their website list their company values? Then, cross-reference this with your own CV and experience and find good examples of when you have displayed these attributes.
The key is to structure your answer in a way that means you don’t go off on a tangent or lose your thread. Don’t simply say that you have the required skills; give solid examples to strengthen your answer.
We recommend that you focus on three key attributes and prepare examples for each of these. For each attribute, explain why it would be beneficial for the role and how you have demonstrated it in the past. The following examples should put you on the right track.
The ability to work under time pressure
“I can see from the job description that this role will involve working under time pressure. The ability to work on several projects simultaneously and meet deadlines will be very important. During my time working for X, I developed the skills to do this. For example, I was responsible for the administration of X client accounts, organising events and meetings, and for maintaining stock records and ordering new stock when necessary. Balancing these responsibilities required a great deal of organisation and I set up an electronic system using X office management tool. This meant that no tasks were forgotten about, I could prioritise effectively and I received alerts about low stock. This proved so effective, that several of my colleagues adopted the same system.“
Why we like this example: To identify this attribute as important, some interpretation of the job description has had to happen. This attention to detail will impress the interviewers. The example shows how the interviewee recognises the challenge of a heavy workload and explains how they have combated it in the past.
The ability to work as part of a team
“You specify that you are looking for a team player for this role. I thrive in a team environment and believe that this is due to my communication skills. While I worked at X airline, we had several offices in different countries. While we worked on X project, several of these offices were involved. I set up weekly Skype meetings with a set agenda so we could update each other in an effective and efficient way. This meant that no-one felt isolated or missed any major developments. Ultimately it resulted in the project finishing ahead of schedule.”
Why we like this example: Instead of just saying that they are a team player, the interviewee has explained why they work so well with other people. Communication skills are a vital trait looked for in candidates for many aviation jobs, so the interviewee has proven they have two skills in one example.
Demonstrate a passion for profession
“I saw on your website that you value a passion for the aviation engineering industry. I have always been passionate about engineering and my experience working at X introduced me to the aviation industry. I am particularly passionate about engineering developments that will make the industry greener and regularly read X to keep up to date. I have also completed X course in my spare time to learn more about what I can achieve in my role.
Why we like this example: This demonstrates some further research into the company. The answer indicates that the interviewee is prepared to take on extra work to improve in their career prospects. It also demonstrates a genuine interest with the specific example of extra reading that they do.
These examples should give you an idea of how long your answer should be and how much detail you should go into for each example. Another point to note is that you shouldn’t learn your answers word-for-word. This can make your answers sound unnatural. Prepare bullet points instead. This way, you will have room to respond in a way that works with how the interview is progressing.
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