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Many people show up for their interview with a nice suit, a copy of their resume and some research on the job/company but most often don’t know how to create a strategy for getting the job. The great thing about this kind of strategy is that once you have it, you can use it for every job interview. The requirements for this tool are to simply do the exercises below …even if you think you know the answers.

Overview
When people don’t get the job it is often not because they don’t have the skills. Usually the interview didn’t go well or at least it didn’t go as well as the person that did get the job. So your part in the interview is to articulate why they should hire you. Who are they hiring? What is your character, track record, or reputation? Through a series of questions they hope to get to know you. This is the one area many people struggle with so following are a few exercises to help you prepare. You’ll want to write out your answers so you can review them a few times before each interview. You may not have the opportunity to share all of the information you gather but whenever the opportunity presents itself during the interview; your strategy becomes to fit in whatever you can. This interview tool will help you identify the strengths that they want and need to know about you. These are the best things you could share about yourself on the interview so review your notes several times before each interview.

Notes
Would you go into a staff meeting with 10 things to cover and forget your agenda? What is the likelihood you’ll forget at least half of what you wanted to cover? The idea isn’t to bring comprehensive notes, just a brief outline of the important areas so you can casually glance at them if needed.

Step 1 - Previous job experience
All too often your thoughts about your job aren’t all great (after all you are leaving your job…or you’ve already left). This exercise gives you a chance to pre think the best possible aspects of your experience in each job and allows you to stay focused on all positive comments during the interview. It also gives you great things to talk about so you can keep the conversation going. Bottom line - it conveys that you are an enthusiastic person, productive employee and well respected by your employer. Throughout the interview, try to share as many of these comments as you can.

Answer the follow three questions for each of your past jobs. If you can’t think of the three best things just write what you can.
• List three things you like best about your current/most recent job (you may have to think back to a time when you really liked it)
• List three things you accomplished or contributed in your current/most recent job
• List three things you are best known for in your current/most recent job

Now answer the same questions for each of your past jobs

Step 2 - What are your strengths?
Sharing your strengths is the area where most people struggle. You have to realize… you are good at your job… and everyone has probably told you that. It’s common for people to be too critical of themselves and that really gets in the way when it comes time to share your strengths on the interview. Step 2 has two exercises will help you be prepared with a list of your strengths that you can feel great about.

First, choose five people in your life that you have a good relationship with and ask them “What are the top five reasons someone should hire me?” Some suggestions on who to choose would be your best friend, your favorite co-worker or mentor, your favorite boss, your mother, father, sister or brother. Write down their feedback. Even on a good day you wouldn’t remember half of the great things they say about you. During the interview, you can share your strengths and also share what others have told you about yourself. This exercise will give you a whole different view of yourself.

Additionally you’ll want to make a list with your own perspective of your strengths. You should have at least 8-10 strengths that you can share about yourself. Come up with an example to support each strength. If you can’t think of an example, maybe it’s not really a strength. Try not to say, “I am a hard worker” and not back that up with what you mean by that. The interviewer will not think of you being a hard worker just because you said the words. Support your strength with an explanation or an example of how your company could count on you for that strength. Another good way to identify with your strength is to ask yourself 'why are you good in that particular area’. For example, someone who is always punctual…asking yourself why might help you see that you have an extremely strong commitment to being responsible or doing what you say. This is great insight that you can share to support your character strengths which is often more important than your skills.

Step - 3 Prepare Interview Questions
Prepare questions for your interview. So this is more important than you might think. It actually can be a deal-breaker for some interviewers who have a standard that says, if you don’t questions you are either not prepared or not interested. I recommend you neatly write or print them out and bring them with you.

Here are six questions that get the interviewer sharing their thoughts with you. Feel free to use these or write your own, however avoid asking about salary or benefits on the first interview unless the interviewer brings it up.

About the company
1. Tell me how you would describe your department’s/company’s culture?
2. What is new and exciting in your company/group/department?

About the position
3. How would you describe the person that has performed the best in this position? What about them contributed to their success in the position?
4. Can you tell me about any challenges or obstacles I should be aware of in this position?

About the manager
5. Describe your management style? What will it be like to work for you?
6. What are your expectations of me or of those in your department?

Step 4 - The Basics
• Review everything you’ve written several times before the interview
• Dress professional, conservative and not a lot of perfume/cologne
• Bring a few copies of your resume
• Arrive early and be friendly to the receptionist
• Review the company’s web site.

The opportunity to share information about you is during the interview. If you don’t say something about yourself, the interviewer won’t know it. So if you’re reliable, say it, if you’re punctual, say it etc… They are hoping you are the one… as much as you are hoping you are the one.

Best wishes!
Written by: Donna Fedor - Affinity People Solutions
donna@affinitypeoplesolutions.com  408 365-0500

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