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Today on Feedback Friday we’ll be covering the written interview question portion of the mock interview we set up.

Usually set in the first part of an automated interview, the written interview question is a candidate’s first chance outside their resume to showcase their personality and fit for the position.  Here we’ve selected a few applicant responses to the following question:

Briefly describe a time when you brightened someone’s day in the workplace.

Weak

Rachel A.: There was a day when my coworker who sits across from me was upset and crying because of a bad review.  I cheered her up because it was distracting.

Feedback: Rachel addressed the question with a specific example, but did not provide how she brightened her co-worker’s day, and her reasoning for doing so, while true, may seem selfish in the eyes of an interviewer.  By taking a more positive tone in assessing the situation and walking us through step-by-step, Rachel can improve her response.

Good

Adam T:  I make people’s day with my energy and enthusiasm. I have turned around my athlete’s day after a bad race by bringing them up and looking to the future.

Feedback: Adam is really up beat in his response, which is great, and he told us a very positive way he addresses the problem, which also scores points with an interviewer.  But, where Adam doesn’t quite hit the mark is he did not supply a specific example and explain the steps he took to bring up his athlete’s spirits or how he gets them to change their focus.  Those details are what pushes a good response to a great one.

Good

Cyndy L.: I had a client calling who was angry about the way a particular situation with a candidate had been handled.  They weren’t my client but got transwered to me,  I chose to address the issue, calm the client down, and make a personal connection with her.  After chit-chatting for about 20 minutes I had gotten her into a good mood and she was no longer concerned about the issue and was even asking about other business we might be able to handle.

Feedback: Cyndy had a good response, but she could have cleaned it up into a great response.  First, since this is a written response on the computer, she should have checked her work for mis-spellings and typos.  Second, while a great outcome that any manager would be happy with, Cyndy did not supply us with specifics of how she calmed the client down.
She did give us the problem, her steps to resolve it, and an outcome, but by providing just one more level of detail to the answer, Cyndy could give the interviewer insights into her critical thinking and problem solving skills. Since this is a written interview question, the interviewer is not there to probe further and Cyndy, like Adam, should try to provide as much clarity as possible.

Great

Sonny D.: There was a time when one of my coworkers looked severely stressed out. He had hit a creative barrier on one of his current projects and I could tell he was about to burn out. The next morning, I brought him breakfast and asked him if he wanted to bounce some ideas around with me. He agreed and in less than 10 minutes, he was able to figure out the direction he needed to take. He thanked me later that day and said if I hadn’t have encouraged him, he probably would have remained stuck.

Feedback:  Sonny’s response was an A+.  Sonny identified a specific problem with a co-worker that he could have easily ignored since it didn’t affect him, and this shows an interviewer Sonny cares about the greater good of his team and his company.  He then walked us through the specific steps he took to address the issue as well as the outcome that resulted from his actions.  The interviewer not only gets a clear view of how Sonny problem solves, but a glimpse of Sonny’s personality and how he might fit into the corporate culture.

Want to get feedback on your interview skills and responses?  Try out one of our Feedback Friday mock interviews!  We’ll be featuring written, recorded, and video interview responses every other Friday here at Interviewing.com, thanks to Rivs.com for allowing us to use their automated recruitment software.

Try it out today and maybe you’ll be featured on our next segment!

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