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More Interview Preparation Steps

new job

new jobContinuing with my list of interview preparation steps, the next two are ones I like to call “Know Yourself” and “Tell a Story”.

KNOW YOURSELF

By this, I mean making certain that you have thoroughly committed to memory everything in your resume, particularly the specific examples of your accomplishments.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve interviewed a candidate, asked them a specific question about their experience that I know could be answered right off their resume, and watched them fumble for the answer.  This shouldn’t surprise me after all these years as a Hiring Manager, but it always does.  Yes, I’ve already read your resume and know the answer, but the purpose in asking the question is to see if you can select the parts of your resume that are applicable to the question and give an articulate answer.

You won’t be able to do this unless you are thoroughly and completely familiar with all of the information on your resume.  Don’t put yourself in the embarrassing position of the Hiring Manager being more familiar with your resume than you are!

Of course, the secret is to practice.  Examine the job posting and take note of the specific requirements that are listed.  Write them down, one by one.  Then, practice stating your experience and accomplishments in terms that match those job requirements.  Practice this as much as you have to until you’re able to do it smoothly and succinctly.

For example, let’s say one of the job requirements is “five years of sales experience”.  If you’re then asked in the interview to recap your sales experience, you could say: “I have eight years of sales experience with XYZ company, during which sales increased 55% in my territory.”

This type of answer demonstrates not only that you exceed the job requirement for experience, but also that your experience produced successful results.

When you’re prepared to this kind of answer for most of the job requirements for that position, you’ll be ahead of 95% of the other applicants.

TELL A STORY

Here’s another job interview tip that is frequently missed or ignored.
When I’m interviewing candidates, I’ll frequently ask questions that require examples of how a difficult challenge or other work situation was handled.  These are called “behavioral” questions.

Usually, these types of questions start with a phrase such as, “Tell me about a time when you..” These questions can be about any subject and consequently can be hard to prepare for, but they do tend to fall into a few general categories, such as:
•    How you handle conflict
•    Describe a difficult situation and how you handled it
•    A problem employee you supervised or worked with and how you dealt with them
•    One of your success stories

Prepare a good, relevant example for each of these common categories and one will very likely fit.

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