The Interview Secret YOU Need to Know!

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As someone who interviews candidates on a regular basis, I can tell you that nothing is more stressful than making that final selection. After weeks and sometimes months invested in finding the right candidate, you hope that you made the right choice. Because there are people who interview well, and others who are talented, but interview poorly, hiring managers have become astute at trying to determine who’s for show and who’s for real!

Most candidates get stumped on the questions that begin, “tell me about a time you had a major challenge at work, and what you did to solve it?” Most of us are good at talking about the highlights of our resumes. However, the problem with most resumes is that they focus on: Titles, Tasks and Timeframes. As such, many candidates struggle to answer the more pointed questions to “what did you actually accomplish?”

An executive search friend of mine introduced me to a pre-interview process that has helped me and many of those I mentor, increase our attractiveness during interviews. The process involves taking the three most recent roles you’ve had and identifying the following for each role:

1. What major challenges did you inherit when you assumed the role?

2. What actions did you take to address these challenges?

3. What improvements were realized as a result of your actions?

What you will end up with is something I call a “Career Accomplishments Document.” Ideally, you will have positive results to the challenges you identified, but even if you do not, you’ll be better prepared to answer the question, “Tell me about a time you tried something and failed.”  At a minimum, you will be able to speak of your work history in terms of what you’ve accomplished, not just the title you held. Furthermore, you will quickly learn that you have more transferable skills than you imagined.

Creating a Career Accomplishments Document will help you better articulate your value during the interview process, and increase your odds of landing the job! It’s more work, but I can promise you, you’ll be glad you took the time to go through the process!