August 9, 2017 • 4 minute read • by Saeed
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” ~ Steve Martin
Over the span of my career, I have interviewed hundreds of job candidates and have been interviewed countless of times myself. I am always amazed at the poor performance on both sides of the table.
I assume you are reading this because you have an upcoming interview.
I also assume you know the basics:
- Dress for the part;
- Arrive a few minutes early;
- Shake hands, don’t hug (really, I’ve had that happen);
- Have an extra copy of your resume and cover letter on hand;
- Don’t respond with canned answers;
- Prepare examples;
- Research the company and prepare three questions to ask;
- Don’t go off on a rant about how technology is destroying us if you are applying for a job at a Apple or how wall street is fleecing us if you are applying for a job at Goldman Sachs and so on;
- Send a hand-written thank you letter.
Lastly, I assume you know that an impression is formed within the first 60 seconds of meeting you. Actually, the research says 1/10 of a second but who’s counting.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s focus on how to actually answer questions. One of the biggest turn-offs in interviews is when people ramble on. To avoid being a babbling brook, use the STAR technique. This is an especially useful technique for answering interview questions in which you must answer with an anecdote. There are four key steps: situation, task, action, and results. Here is how it works:
(S) Situation. Describe the situation in which the event took place.
(T) Task. Describe the task you were asked to complete. If there was a particular problem or issue you were trying to solve, describe that here.
(A) Action. Explain what action you took to complete the task or solve the problem.
(R) Results. Explain the result of your actions. For example, if your actions resulted in completing a task, resolving a conflict, improving your company’s sales record, etc., explain this. Try to focus on how your actions resulted in a success for the company
Now that you have your technique down, let me give you the big secret to job interviews: People want to hire people they can see themselves working with on a daily basis. In other words, it has to be a good fit regardless of your qualifications or experience. Otherwise, both sides will be stuck in a perennial state of unhappiness. So remember, if you don’t get the job maybe it’s because it wasn’t meant to be.
©2017 – All Content by Saeed H. Mirfattah, M.A.
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