By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future
There’s a universal pattern to interview questions and answers. Understanding what they are and how to use them effectively to your benefit can result in a more powerful outcome.
First, from THE INTERVIEWER’s perspective: The job of the interviewer is two-fold: To extract as much key information as possible and to establish a constructive relationship with the applicant. In your resume, questions like “Where, when and by whom were you employed?” are already identified in your resume. It then comes down to three universal questions:
- “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?”
- “HOW DID YOU DO IT?”
- “WHAT WERE THE RESULTS?”
The interviewer wants to find out if you are up to the task for the job opening. The objective of the interviewer is to identify similar experiences that parallel the job opening. The perfect candidate is one who has already done the job successfully somewhere else and can then transfer that success to the open position, while fitting into the culture. The greater the overlap, the better your chances.
When an interviewer asks a question like, “Tell me about the marketing strategy you developed”, they are really saying, “We have a similar situation and we need someone to show us how to do it”. Every question has a rationale behind it. You need to understand the question in the context of the job opening. This is usually achieved through prior research and cues from the interviewer.
Now from THE INTERVIEWEE’s perspective: Your role is an easy one: To relay stories about your past experiences in a way that intertwines with the requirements of the open position. The way you deliver that information is the key, not only in the content but also in your execution.
The universal answers should follow this pattern:
1. STATE THE ISSUE: Example: “The issue we were assigned to resolve was x, y, z”
2. IDENTIFY THE ACTION: Example: “We formed cross-functional teams, with me in the lead, and analyzed x, y, z against a, b, c, to find the critical points of differentiation”
3. DEFINE THE RESULTS: Example: “Resulted in 12% more revenue over 18 months…”
Since you already know what the questions will be about your background and experiences, you can formulate and practice your answers beforehand through “mini-pitches”. A mini-pitch is a well-practiced response in 20 to 30 seconds to questions you know will be asked of you.
In this way your responses are targeted, then presented in a logical and understandable sequence. Your answers demonstrate a businessperson, with competence in your functional area of expertise. Continually practice your mini-pitches to produce maximum command of the material.
With this approach, you now have an edge in the interviewing process. That’s an advantage in this competitive world.
Take control of your destiny. Be a candidate rather an applicant. Join us at My Greener Future.
Our website: Mygreenerfuture.com