Nail that Interview: Give Right Proof of Results

Author and career expert Andrea Kay, wrote a nifty little article about how to outperform the competition when interviewing.

In short, she says, to convince an employer that you are the right person for the job, you need to give proof that you can get results.  She points out that  an employer takes a big risk with a new employee and wants to avoid wasting thousands of dollars  hiring and training  you only to find out six months later you that you aren’t right for the job.

To prove your ability, you must be able to show how you made a difference to past employers that made them more productive or profitable.  Chances are, the person in the interview won’t say, “Give me proof.”  However, you might hear “Can you give me an example of how you did that?” Or “Tell me about a time when you . . .”

From your experience, think about how your efforts made a difference in the past.  You may think that what you did wasn’t measurable, but in fact, every action has a result.  Here are some examples of results you may have accomplished:

– Corrected internal problems

– Expanded or improved something

– Made something look better

 -Increased business, membership or attendance

– Reduced error rates

– Obtained more information

– Avoided problems

– Raised profiles of companies or events

– Cut downtime

– Made someone look good

– Met or improved standards

– Devised or streamlined a system

– Increased customer satisfaction.

Now that you have an idea of the kind of results you are looking for, Kay suggests the following exercise to help you  provide the proof you need to communicate effectively with a potential employer:

1)  Write down a specific time when you used your strengths and abilities to solve a problem. You can use examples that either met a company’s need or that helped you to successfully complete a class or a volunteer project.

2) Go back to what you wrote down and describe what the situation or problem was. Here’s an example.

The problem: I was a volunteer in Amnesty International when dozens of people were being
held as political prisoners in a particular area.

3) Write exactly what you did.

I created and coordinated a letter-writing campaign and fundraiser.

4) Write out the result you achieved.

Our efforts led to the eventual release of more than half of the political prisoners.

This is a bare bones example, and you can certainly add more details, but you get the idea.

Kay closes by suggesting that you be ready to cite four to six juicy examples of how you’ve applied your strengths, and that prove how incredible you are. She says, and I agree, that if you don’t prepare, you may just end up fumbling around with a generic statement about results.  In this job environment, that just won’t cut it.

I also believe that you can take this one-step further by tailoring your responses. First, do some research to understand what the company is looking for in the position.  For example, if the position requires someone to cut costs, and you have done that in the past, why not relate that story and your results? In short, do a little research up front and choose the situations that best demonstrate how you are an excellent fit for the company’s needs.  Actually, plan to apply this same approach to crafting your resume and cover letter for the position as well.  Showing the employer how you are a good fit will help you to score the interview in the first place.

Thanks to Kay for a simple and excellent approach to better interviewing skills. Read her full article in the Gannet online newspaper here.

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Date: Friday, 3. December 2010 15:31
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