The questions are different, but the hiring manager really wants to know: “Can this applicant do the job and successfully get positive results here?” Your answers determine whether you become a finalist candidate or just another applicant. Have strong, positive responses ready. You can directly affect the outcome of the interview.
The open-ended question gives the hiring manager some insight into how you organize your thoughts and deliver them in a cogent way. If you prepare for the question beforehand, you can design your response to give a powerful response. Here are some simple rules to follow:
1. Note the top 5 items on the position description. These are the most critical responsibilities that the hiring manager is trying to fill and where your responses need to be focused. Figure out what you’ve done in the past to successfully fulfill these tasks.
2. Make a list of similar responsibilities, achievements or results that you have accomplished from prior jobs. If you don’t have any similar experiences your chances of a successful interview is reduced, but you must come as close as you can to those top 5 items.
3. Translate your accomplishments into measureable results. Use percentages, dollars, targets, increases, decreases or ratios that resemble the requirements of the position. This shows the hiring manager that you are results-oriented.
4. Create a “story” that parallels the job requirements and how those results are transferable to the open position. Be succinct. Deliver the response in a minute or two. Don’t ramble. Your “story” will demonstrate your ability to generate results in this new situation.
5. Your objective is to demonstrate how compatible you are to what the hiring manager wants. The closer you come as a team member to what the hiring manager needs puts you closer to becoming the candidate of choice.
6. Don’t focus on personal items that are not relevant to the job opening. Make sure to identify skills or expertise that is directly applicable to the job, like technology or certifications. The greater your expertise in a field of knowledge required for the position, the greater your chances.
7. Never answer the question with a question like: “What do you want to know?”
8. Tell the hiring manager why you believe you’re the right person for the job
Many candidates interviewing for a position aren’t prepared for the open-ended question. Candidates usually expect specific questions about their backgrounds. By preparing for the open-ended question you can target the important elements of the position.
Hiring managers are looking for someone that can do the job.
Give them what they’re looking for.
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