Since the resume is the only document the hiring organization has about you, something in your resume sparked an interest that they really wants to learn more about. You need to find out what it is. Their questions will revolve around each of the items you’ve listed on your resume. There are only a few “fundamental” questions an interviewer can ask you:
- What have you done?
- How did you do it?
- What were the results?
All other questions are of less importance. Why? Hiring organizations are trying to match their requirements to your experiences. If they come close to a match, they’ll take the next step leading to an interview. These questions get to the core of what they need to know.
Your answers should be prepared with crisp answers of about 30 seconds:
- State the issue your were trying to solve
- Identify the actions you took
- Define the outcomes of your efforts
THEN LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY. The key point is whether the interviewer moves on to the next item or asks a second set of follow-up question. The reason all follow-up questions are important is that they convey the issue the hiring organization is really trying to solve, like:
- What were the steps to success? What were some other alternatives you considered?
- How long did it take? How many and what kind of staff was required?
- What was the cost of the project? Did you have a budget?
- How did you sell management on the idea? What were Impediments to the process?
Why would they ask these questions unless they were seeking answers to their own problems? All of these questions are telling you the issues of the hiring organization. The questions they are asking now seek information that may be translatable to solving their issues. The more follow-up questions, the more detail they ask for, the bigger the issue is for them and the greater their interest in you. That’s why the follow-up questions are so important for you to understand. It reveals the real reason why you are being interviewed.
OPTIMIZE THE OPPORTUNITY. Since you now know the real issues of the open position, seek ways to optimize your candidacy by leveraging their interests by suggesting, “We considered a number of other alternatives to solve this issue.”, or “We made some adjustments after we began implementation?”, or “The integration was made in three steps”. Then comes your killer question, “Would it be helpful to talk more about these solutions?”
You have now cast out the bait. If they take it you’re on your way toward being hired.