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TWELVE MINUTES WHICH WIN EVERY INTERVIEW

08 Oct 2013 by

1      Is this the job for me?

Most interviewers have specific segments of interviews they consider essential. We think applicants need to nail these sections, questions or responses in order to progress in the process of moving ahead to the next level and ultimately winning a job offer for their “next” dream job. Some of us claim we can tell in the first 30 seconds whether we “like” the candidate or not, therefore, anointing them as our selection. The interview is then a mere formality and substantiation of our initial assessment. Some of us have pet questions and answers we like: (Tell me what your weaknesses are? Give me an example of a time when have you been in a dispute with your manager, and how did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?)

Over 35 years, 3000+ interviews and  500 job offers, it has become apparent to me there are specific times in an interview which either help a candidate proceed along the road to “career Utopia” or deem him/her as “not up to speed” so , therefore finished and officially “screened out.” While interviewing for a pharmaceutical company last year, a 12 step process became apparent to me. What are the pivotal junctures, questions or “moments” that determine the next steps in the progress? What does the candidate need to do to WIN an offer?

During my workshops at the University of Colorado B. School Denver, Career Connectors Phoenix, or one of the churches where I present, I suggest a candidate strengthen his/her position by first selecting a job they actually have a chance to win. I ask my students/attendees to spend time at the outset of the job offer search and apply only to those positions where they can experience a cultural fit, where their values line up with the companies and they actually have the competencies to thrive in this companies environment. Rather than apply to 10 positions a week, I suggest they research the company thoroughly so there are as few surprises as possible and apply to 3. Stack the deck in your favor.

We ask a few questions:

  1. Do I have 80% of the competencies the position description outlines under Responsibilities and Requirements?
  2. Can I match my career experience to their needs?
  3. Is the company one I would be proud to work with as our values are a match?
  4. Has someone in the company I know well said to me “You would be perfect for this position?” (Netwinning). (LinkedIn increases our odds of having a connection to someone in house.)
  5. Do I agree with their assessment and believe in myself?
  6. Will this “career partner” go to bat for me so I can get my foot in the door, and better yet, get a chance to prove they are right?
  7. Am I prepared to “match me” to the position description on the interview?
  8. Have I done my homework?
  9. Have I role played the Q/A I think will take place?

The right selection process for that great job offer begins before we rush head long into applying to everything that remotely sounds appealing. Our up front due diligence can pay handsomely by stacking our own deck in our favor.

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