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Interview Strategy:  Answering the Questions Is Not Enough

Posted October 23rd, 2016 | Author: John G. Self

Quote of the Day:

“If your resume does not impress the recruiter, the cover letter is not going to save you.”


We all smile when a politician spins his or her answer to a question, or pivots and then offers an answer that is only vaguely linked to the question.

The latter is evasive, the former is an interview strategy designed to enhance their message. It is what they do. 

Job candidates would do well to take a page from the political messaging playbook and learn how to enhance their message in job interviews.

interview-shutterstock_401975209Being satisfied to just answer an interviewer’s question is not enough.  They are asking questions to get information they think is critical to making the right candidate selection.  Candidates who lack an interview strategy usually miss the opportunity to enhance their message or to emphasize their value.  They assume that the person who is conducting the interview will understand their value proposition based on a reading of their resume and what they say in their answers to the questions.  Now that is a huge leap of faith. 

By the time a candidate is selected for a face-to-face interview, either with the search firm consultant or the potential employer, they should have a good feel for what they are looking for in terms of academic preparation, years, types of experience and scope of responsibility.  The candidate should also have a sense of specific performance expectations.  This knowledge and practice of delivering responses specifically addressing those key issues should serve as a base-line in the interview preparation.  It is what you add to the mix that could very well determine whether you advance.  You must have a strategy regarding the messages/themes you want to reaffirm and define who you are.

For those executives who rarely, if ever, prepare for an interview beyond rereading the Position Prospectus or position summary, here is a cautionary observation: it usually shows.  You only have to look at the recent Presidential debates to see how preparation can seemingly alter the arc of public (or employer) opinion.  The job market has changed and in-depth preparation based on a strategy is not just critical, it is essential.

Candidates who take the time to work on responses to anticipated questions with answers that provide a bigger window into their competences, particularly those that the employer will value — incorporating quantifiable examples of previous accomplishments/successes — will pave the way for a much better chance of advancing.

Recruiters and employers love qualified and well prepared candidates.

Photo Credit:  Shutterstock

© 2021 John Gregory Self

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