By the time a company or law firm decides who they want to interview, it is reasonable to assume that all of the candidates have the skills and experience to do the job. One candidate will win the position, and all the others will lose. Here are some interview tips that can help you avoid coming in second.
- Know your brand strategy – What 3 to 5 key sales points do you have that would show your value, and why you have a unique blend of skills that would make you a better candidate than your competitors. Make this solid skills, not general fluff – “I am good at writing and research” is general fluff that your competitors can say. What are your 3 to 5 best points?
- Put a positive spin on why you are seeking a new job – Cite nothing negative (long hours, hate billing clients, don’t like rainmaking, etc.) Look for other reasons why you are on the market … but make sure they relate to things that would benefit the employer, not just you. A statement like “I want to be able to help a company grow by applying a wider range of my experience than I can at the firm” is much better than saying, “I hate billable hours.” What are your key reasons for wanting a change and how can your next employer benefit from your service?
- Be prepared for the hard questions that you don’t want them to ask — Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes — what concerns would they have about your candidacy? Too young and inexperienced? Too old and over-qualified? No experience in the employer’s industry. No experience in the job function? Not great academics? Too many job shifts? Try to determine the concerns will they have about you, and then create your defenses. Turn those potential lemons into lemonade!
- Support your claims with PAR stories – Every lawyer makes the same claims about being good at writing and research, doing “out of the box thinking,” being a creative problem solver and issue-spotter. But few people back up their claims with evidence. Prepare a series of Problem-Action-Result anecdotes, each about a minute long (no more than that!) to illustrate and support your claims. Be prepared with an array of them, in different skill areas.
- Know the mission of the job and the immediate priorities – Ask the interviewer about the first challenges the newly hired candidates will need to address. Cite from your PAR stories how you have dealt with that type of challenge – or one similar – in the past. Look for relevant examples and make the connections for them. “Well, I’ve negotiated hundreds of contracts before, and am very good at getting favorable terms when I negotiate. While I’ve not done that specific type of contract before, I understand business objectives and how to make deals that work out profitably for my clients. I can do the same for you, too.
By being prepared with success stories to support your claims, by focusing on the employer’s needs and not your “wants,” and by knowing why you are a better candidate than your competitors, you can come out the winner and not the second-place finisher in the interview process.
If you have an important interview coming up, or want to sharpen your interview skills, let’s talk. Just click here to schedule a free call: https://live.vcita.com/site/bruce.blackwell/online-scheduling?service=d6dc6699
#jobinterviews, #interviewskills, #jobs, #careercoach