The 4 Levels Of Communicating How Good You Are In A Job Interview (From Least To Most Impressive)

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The 4 Levels Of Communicating How Good You Are In A Job Interview (From Least To Most Impressive)

 1)  Most Basic Level:  People Who Talk About Their Qualities And Capabilities

During a job interview, many people like to highlight their strongest qualities and capabilities.  They’ll claim to be a fast learner, persistent, or a hard worker, or say they’re a good communicator or team leader.

 For a fresh university graduate with little or no work experience, this is okay, since your potential and what will allow you to be successful are pretty much all you have to talk about.

 The Problem With Doing Only This

However, if you already have some work experience, then experienced interviewers will wonder why you’re not talking about what you can actually do.  Your actual work experience is what distinguishes you from fresh university graduates.

 2)  More Revealing Level:  People Who Talk About Their Work Experience

Your actual work experience is a much more tangible indicator of your capabilities to an interviewer.  As a result, always talk about your outstanding qualities and capabilities in the context of describing what you can do.

 The Problem With Doing Only This

However, experienced interviewers know that just because you've done something for a long time doesn't mean you do it well.  Think of the people you know who have been doing a job for a while, but who are only so-so or average at what they do?  Top employers want very good to excellent people, not so-so or average.

 3)  More Impressive Level:  People Who Talk About Impressive Achievements

If you want to convey to others how well you can do something, then talk about your achievements. Think of them as the proof of what you can do.  Of course, the more impressive they are the better. 

For instance, I've interviewed many candidates with impressive degrees, certificates, company names, and years of experience.  But when you ask them to share their most impressive achievements, the examples they give are unimpressive. 

Then there are candidates from 2nd tier schools and lesser known companies who have generated bigger results, led bigger teams, or built new processes.  So while I may have originally thought the candidate with more qualifications would be better, I’ll pick the one with the more impressive achievements.  Top companies and experienced executives think the same way. 

The Problem With Doing Only This

However, even listening to someone talk about their achievements can be misleading.  There are smart people out there who can sound like they've done something impressive, but actually, have only supported, participated in, or observed someone else do it.  Or their achievements were largely the result of a company process or team they were a part of.  Or were achieved at a hot time in the market or when the competition wasn't very strong yet.  They’re very familiar with what should actually happen, but haven’t actually led or managed the situation themselves. 

4)  “We’d Like To Hire You!” Level:  People Who Can Tell You How They Achieve Impressive Results

This is why the most impressive candidates are the ones that can not only share impressive achievements with you, but who can also tell you exactly how they achieved the result.  They can tell you exactly how they do it, and tell you instantly, fluently, and without hesitation. 

They can explain things to you in this way because they've gone through it first-hand.  They've spent dozens if not hundreds of hours thinking about, understanding, and figuring out how to do it well.  And they've spent hundreds if not thousands of hours actually doing and executing it.  In fact, they can not only tell you why they did it a certain way, but why they didn't do it another way.  When you finish listening to them, you just think to yourself, “Wow, that’s impressive!”

To experienced executives and interviewers I know, it’s the people who can share impressive achievements along with what it takes to achieve them that really stand out.  If you want to get chosen for a great opportunity, this is how you go about impressing top employers.


Larry Wang