SAGE ADVICE FOR RESUMES, INTERVIEWING, AND MORE!
- By bruce w clagg
How Do You Handle the First Question in an Interview?
Obviously, your response must be engaging to the interviewer, or your performance is slipping away quickly! No interviewer wants to hear your life story!!
Let’s start with preparation. Research their company website: products, services, successes, number of locations, company age, financials (if publicly-held), news releases, leadership team (normally reserved for public, or very small companies), friends that are/were employed there. No company website? NEXT!! Is this the type of company where your career could thrive?
Do you have YOUR questions prepared? Most do not and worse than that, they wait until ‘the end’ of an interview to ask them and more than 90% have NO questions?!
You walk into the interviewer’s office. For our purposes, we’ll say that you are interviewing with your potential, future boss. They have sheets of questions they have been asking for years and don’t, generally, get a lot from the responses until a candidate tells the truth to a fault; takes ten minutes to respond when a simple ‘yes,” or “no” would suffice; misunderstand the question and, therefore, their reply is completely off-target; or the candidate is obviously unprepared.
More often than not, this the first question from the interviewer! “So, what can you Tell Me About Yourself?” Most candidates get the ‘deer in the headlights’ look and instantly become befuddled.
I’ve had candidates state their name, where they live, size of their family, academic success, former employers, and on and on. They can suck the oxygen out of the room with a seemingly endless response. Is there the slightest of chances that the interviewer did not read your resume and currently has it on their desk beneath their eyes? Your name??!!
Sitting subliminally on the shoulder of every interviewer is ‘W.I.I.F.M' (whif-em) and they are hoping that you’ll hit it! What’s In It For Me? The benefit(s) that you bring in the best and fewest words possible! As a former VP/GM, my answer to ‘TMAY’ was (PAUSE…I cannot come across as rehearsed, or it’s over) “Professionally…I promote corporate growth and increase profit!” EIGHT WORDS!! What company, or hiring manager wouldn’t want that? With all of the things I had to accomplish daily and all of the employees, if done and managed well, those eight words tell it all…bottom line…net/net. If the interviewer poses a follow-up question such as “So, how do you go about doing that?…great! Your response will probably differ from mine, but you get the point, right? We’ve made the first step in side-stepping the typical, one-hour interrogation (which both parties dislike) and turned this into a meaningful dialog, or conversation. We are all used to conversations, but not interrogations. You’ll both be more comfortable and open!
At the first pause from the interviewer, ask permission to ask your first question. Executives LOVE being asked smart, sharp, business questions and they are not accustomed to it! I have the questions prepared depending upon the job title(s) of the interviewer(s)...your questions will differ between your future boss, HR, execs from other departments. At every pause, ask your next question! …wait too long and they will return to their list of questions!
You can avoid a bad choice and the interviewer, a bad hire IF you ask the appropriate questions. Since few to none ever ask questions, it’s no mystery why so many employees in today’s workforce only stay aboard for a relatively short time. Certain things don’t fit them. However, if the right questions were asked by the candidate during the interview(s), they may find out that their boss is a micro-manager, there is a merger underway whereby this company is being acquired, no short-term career path, travel, etc.
Every other competitor for this position will undergo the interrogation. You, however, will learn how to “Sell the Fit” and make this a meaningful dialog for both parties. My clients typically get the Offer for more money than they expected because they proved their value and provided real solutions to the issues/challenges that will face the successful candidate in a friendly atmosphere. Assume that some competitors will appear ‘better’ in print, but if they undergo the centuries-old interrogation – you got ‘em! Good luck!
Hello! I'm Bruce Clagg,
Advanced Career Solutions
Advanced Career Solutions (ACS) is a professional resume writing services firm also providing unique, job interview training, LinkedIn Profile rebuilding, career counseling & coaching from the ONLY multi-certified professional* in Pennsylvania.
- Bruce Clagg, Rapid Employment & Career Management Coach
*The four Certifications are noted within.