This month we spoke with Michael Dunlop, director of sales with G&K services. He asks:
Tell us about the biggest mistake you've made at work.
When you meet with a prospective employer, they are as, (if not more), interested in who you are in addition to what you post in your CV. From an employer's perspective, the organization most commonly has training and resource support available to develop the skill component in an individualÃÃÃ´what they can't develop is the will component. The will component is usually the primary influence in driving one's success or failure in a given position. While academic and relative employment history/achievement are noteworthy, the employer wants to determine as best they can a candidate's integrity, work ethic, tenacity and motivation; again all elements that combine to illustrate the will of the candidate and what they are prepared to do to be successful in a given role.
The key in answering this question is to honestly relate to a real experience that you have faced in your life. This is important because if you fabricate or have not truly lived the experience, you will not be able to respond with the same level of emotion, passion and conviction that you would if you have lived the experience.
A mistake that is often made is in thinking that the illustration must be exciting, grandiose or entertaining, (which if it is, is fine). If not, a real example that illustrates an experience that was truly a challenge, your strategy in facing that challenge, how you tactically executed your strategy and the eventual outcome'even if not positive'goes much further in giving the interviewer an insight as to who you are and how you will approach your potential job challenges and duties.
Best advice in answering questions in an interview: Be yourself, be honest, look your interviewer in the eyes, be confident in your responses, tell it like it is, don't over embellish, don't understate; this will speak much more directly to your character than any resume ever will!