Easy-Peasy Ways for a Stand-Out Interview

Feeling the urgency to land that high-earning job? Can’t wait to enjoy the prestige of getting that hard-to-get position? Well, while our resume/curriculum vitae will do its role of accentuating our competencies, expertise, and other skills, it is undeniable that in a competitive field, how you present yourself during the job interview is equally significant to the weight of your credentials and uncovering your talents.

So now, instead of focusing on what to wear, which necktie you will pick, the hairstyle you will choose, the color of your lipstick, or if you are going to wear that Louboutin, instead we’ll draw the attention to HOW YOU WILL CONDUCT YOURSELF in front of the panelist, the APPROACH that you’ll be using, the BEHAVIOUR that they need to perceive on you.

The photo being used is from google images. Credits to the owner.

YOUR WARMTH.

You will be a candidate for the position, or you will be scheduled for an interview because the HR team already screened your application, and luckily, you suffice all the necessary qualifiers for the position. Making it “not the first thing” to display when you appear on that big day. Competence is not the initial thing to display — it should be WARMTH.

Utter phrases like ‘Thank you for taking the time to discuss the job and my skills with me today” can be a great starter. It also makes the interviewer think that you are genuinely interested in the conversation. Your warmth helps you make a good impression.

DO YOUR ASSIGNMENT.

Yes! RESEARCH is the keyword. Initially, they will be looking for two main things.

(First), they want to know what made you decide to apply and work with the company. Is it their core values? The enterprise culture? The salary grade that they offer? Benefit plan? Career pathing? So if you were not able to answer this question, it will automatically give your panelist a red flag on how much zest you can bring to the table.

(Second), did you allot time to get to know the company? And whether you took time to get a few details such as its history, the owners, the products and services they offer, their competition and counterparts, range of consumers, and their target market.

And here comes the question of “Why did you decide to work for/with us?

BENEFICIAL STALKING.

Obviously, the whole company building won’t be able to do that part of the job, so they will send out an interviewer. An interviewer is a person who conducts an interview with a prospective employee.

The interviewer or maybe the panelist have their own mindset, preferences, ideas, and biases. These people “may/might” try to minimize such, but it is not surprising for them to hire based on their personal interests. The truth of the matter is ‘BEING SUBJECTIVE” (sometimes) is the name of the game.

In that case, it would be better to have a glance at what character does the interviewer has. Gotta do the same thing when you did your research about the company. Just to be clear it is not the same way as stalking in social media, beneficial stalking is when you get to discover something beneficial on your part without harming anybody else. Knowing a few things about the person who will conduct the interview can be a big help in tailor-fitting your responses.

DISCUSS YOUR EXPERTISE THROUGH FORMATTED STORYTELLING.

Everybody wants to hear a story. It is a part of our daily lives. And it is also applicable in an interview. Instead of answering in chorus and just stating the list of your skills, why not be creative? Weaving memorable storytelling can give you one step ahead of the game.

Remember “STAR” behavioral questions? That “Can you tell me about a time when you…” question?

Here’s what it stands for:

  • (S) Situation – What’s the context? Describe the situation or the background first.
  • (T) Task – Talk about your responsibilities or the tasks you had to complete (i.e. what was the challenge for the specific task?)
  • (A) Action – How did you fix the situation? Describe your process and the steps you took.
  • (R) Results – Describe the results of your actions. If possible, use numbers or hard data (e.g. by what % did you increase the overall sales? What changed?).

Now that you know what behavioral interview questions are, let’s take a look at a sample answer that follows the STAR method:

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**Practical Example**

Behavioral Interview Question:

“Give me an example of when you had to be very strategic in your tasks to meet all of your responsibilities under a specific deadline.”

Sample Answer:

Situation – “I typically like to plan out my work weeks in advance if possible. But in my previous sales manager role at Company X, I had to suddenly move the team to a new customer relationship management (CRM) software. The software we were using before unexpectedly changed their pricing model, which made it too expensive for us.”

Task – ”I had to find new software that met our requirement, by the end of Q3 (when the price increase hit), while making sure my own sales numbers did not decrease. The new tool also had to be intuitive and easy for our employees to adapt to.”

Action – “In order to do that, I had to be very careful with how I managed my time. The first thing I did was ask our sales associates what the number one problem was with our current CRM, so I knew what to look for in a new one aside from the price factor. After that, I dedicated 1-2 hours each day to research, and once I found the new software, migrating our data. I made sure to delete any old contacts, update the missing information on our current leads, and catch the team up on how to use the new software. All the while, I was still handling my daily responsibilities as usual, without any decrease in performance.”

Results – “Finally, we managed to complete the transfer 1 week behind the deadline. I finished the quarter 12% ahead of my sales goals, and the team was satisfied with the new CRM. By planning ahead and with proper time allocation, everything worked out well.” 

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Such a perfect way to utilize the STAR method.

This is pretty much a perfect answer that follows the STAR method. It provides the background, the challenges, perfectly presented the process when attacking the issue, and is supported by the data and numbers. by using the same formula, it is way easier to organize your answer to avoid the listener getting lost with your storytelling.

Through this way of storytelling, you communicated numerous skills such as Leadership, Critical thinking, Initiative, Risk management, Decision-making, Problem-solving, Team management, and Business analysis.

SHOWCASE THAT MOTIVATION BLOCKS YOUR WEAKNESS.

Many of us are doing our best to ensure that our weaknesses won’t hello during the interview. Well, to tell you the truth, this isn’t something new to the interviewers – hence, they are well aware of this. Instead of masking it, you just have to present it alongside with your intent to hinder or to work on them. It depicts a growth mindset and an optimistic character.

THE RIGHT QUESTIONS.

Before the end, the interviewer will surely ask you, “Do you have any questions for me?” and you say, “No, I think I’m good” or “None so far” and the ever famous “None this time”, they see it as incompetence or disinterest in the job position or just plain compliance. Remember, you are supposed to let them know that you did your research about the company, just as much as they did to your presented credentials.

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Now, are you ready to land the job? I am sure YOU ARE!

Being scheduled for an interview is already a commendable achievement, however, your performance during the interview is what separates you from the rest of the candidates. A good CV/resume may be delightful. but those who secure the job are the ones who are able to translate those on-paper skills and experience into real-life conversations.

***Opinions expressed here are the writer’s own and not by any organization.

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