I’ve interviewed hundreds of job candidates over the course of my career. I don’t claim to be an interviewing expert, but I do have an educated opinion on what makes the difference between first and second place for candidates. To all my friends who are job hunting right now… please consider my unsolicited advice.
When you are interviewing for a new job, you are marketing and selling a product. The product is you. You have features and benefits that might be right for the boss across the table. Features are your skills. Benefits are what you can do with them.
Most resumes start as a list of bullet point facts – job titles, dates and responsibilities. What impresses me most is when a resume comes together as a compelling story, told with passion and integrity by the job candidate.
Each previous job on your resume is a chapter in the story and contains scenes with a setting, characters, action, conflict and resolution. You are the star, and how you reacted to circumstances in each scene provides clues about how you will react in the future. During an interview, your job achievements will be more compelling if you can articulately describe each situation, what action you took and the measurable result.
Transitions are also very important. Why did you leave this scene and move on to the next? Why are there blank pages in between these two chapters? The interviewer is just trying to fill story gaps by asking you these questions. You never know exactly what you will be asked, but you can still be prepared.
Every single time I interviewed for a job, I was asked to walk the interviewer through my resume and provide some color on what happened and the choices I made. Your Situation/Action/Result scenarios can be written out in advance, rehearsed and refined. If you role play out loud with a friend or mentor beforehand, you are paving the way for a more confident performance in the actual interview.
Your career is a story. Tell it with enthusiasm and you’ll be a best-seller!
Do you have a tip for successful interviewing? Please share it in the comments below!