Playing on Your Strengths
Preparing for the job interview
By Fred Workley
You may not be looking for a job, but the market for skilled aviation maintenance professionals is very hot. There are many employers looking for you right now.
If you are on the market, what do you know about a prospective employer? Your preparation homework becomes important even in an excellent job market. Let's take a close look at some of the issues you need to address when you are selling yourself as the world's greatest aviation maintenance professional who is, of course, worth a lot of money. Companies also want to know what you can do for them. Why not be prepared to tell them?
Knowledge is powe
r One way to research a prospective employer is through that company's web site. Another way is to ask people who are already employees. During the interview, knowing about a company puts forth a positive impression and gives you an advantage over other applicants.
You may not wear a suit and tie while servicing and repairing an airplane, but when you are interviewing, a suit tells them that you mean business. Remember that the suit doesn't make the person, but it lets the interviewer know that you take the interview very seriously. Erica Goode of the New York Times, in a syndicated series, published in many newspapers, had an article titled "Incompetence is Bliss, Say Researchers." A Cornell University study has shown that incompetent people do not know that they are incompetent. David Dunning, a professor of psychology reports that people who do things badly are often more confident in their abilities than people who do things well. The conclusions were published in the December 1999, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. "Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it." The deficiency is in "self-monitoring skills."
It's like continuing to tell the same joke time after time even though it's not funny. Another example would be to repeat something that didn't work the first time exactly the same way the second time even though you should, by logic, assume that it would not work again. Albert Einstein gave this explanation for this flawed procedure, "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I say that humans are creatures of habit, and they can get stuck in the same rut.
The researchers found that people who have a good grasp of language and grammar, can reason logically, and can understand humor, have fewer tendencies to "grossly overestimate" how well they perform. Poor performance in these skills led to distortions in the individual's self-estimates. Have you thought about your ability to assess your own performance?
There are reasons why people overestimate their competency or are not even aware of whether others judge them as competent, say the researchers. Often, people will not give each other feedback out of polite courtesy. It's very seldom that adults will tell another "how it is" even though they will tell someone "where to go." So, what does this have to do with interviewing for a technical position of fixing airplanes?
I have always contended that everything takes a certain amount of time. You can put the time on the front end or the aft end to get the same result. Usually it is more productive on the front end. Preparing for the interview will require you to take stock of yourself, a self-assessment. Be honest with yourself. You may have to expose your strengths and weaknesses. Maybe you don't have a good sense of humor. The way to fix that is to stop telling bad jokes. Once you have taken stock of your abilities, you may find that you are just exactly what a future employer is looking for in your upcoming interview.