The 4 Levels Of Communicating How Good You Are In A Job Interview (From Least To Most Impressive)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 Tips To Creating A Job Winning CV
The Human Touch - Poem by Spencer Michael Free
’Tis the human touch
in this world that counts,
The touch of your hand and mine,
Which means far more
to the fainting heart
Than shelter and bread and wine.
For shelter is gone
when the night is o’er,
And bread lasts only a day.
But the touch of the hand
And the sound of the voice
Sing on in the soul always.
Preparing for interview can be a tricky business. Doing your homework is vital
Christine Khor, a Recruitment Director at Chorus Executive and author of Hire Love, told News.com.au promising candidates are still making surprising mistakes and cheating themselves out of their perfect role.
Advising them on how to dress, when to arrive and who they’re interviewing with is a solid start, but how do you ensure they aren’t pipped at the post by a better prepared competitor?
She outlined nine errors candidates must avoid if they are to seal the deal at an interview.
Khor advises that candidates are best to be upfront and honest with interviewers. “Be really honest,” she says. “Don’t lie on your CV, you’ll always get caught. If you have no degree, you were made redundant or you didn’t get along with your boss, just say so.”
2. Leaving Out The Context
Make sure your candidate is fully prepped to explain their work history. “Don’t just say you got made redundant. Say the global financial crisis happened, they closed a department, 78 people lost their jobs and unfortunately you were one of them,” Khor said.
3. Lack of CV Knowledge
Make sure your candidate knows their CV back to front. “People get the details wrong, the dates wrong, their financial achievements,” she said.
4. Not Understanding the Role
Many candidates don’t know enough about the organisation or position. “There’s a difference between wanting to leave your job and why you want to work for someone,” Khor said.
5. Raising Issues Early On
Tell your candidate to keep any negatives to themselves at the start. “I’m seeing this more and more, especially with women,” Khor said. “Single mums and dads both need flexibility for pick-up and drop-offs, but women will say it very quickly at the beginning.
“You need to be honest if you need flexibility, but you don’t need to say it straight away. Biased or not, it puts in the employer’s mind that it’s not going to work.”
People typically go for jobs where they fulfil 80% of the criteria, but many candidates will focus on the 20% they can’t do. Khor said this is often an issue with female candidates. “Women are putting up barriers for themselves,” she said.
“There’s a fine line between underselling and overselling yourself,” Khor said. “Interviewers want to know how passionate you are and [about] your achievements but they also want to know your faults. None of us are perfect.”
8. Making Bad Jokes
Khor told of an interview in which a candidate said he would drive business by using “dirt” he had on people. She said it was clearly a joke, but the seed of doubt was planted.
9. Asking About Moving On
The opportunity to ask questions at the end of an interview can be a minefield, with Khor suggesting candidates steer away from questions about progression. “People want to know you want the job,” she said. “Talk about wanting the job, not just wanting to be at the organisation.”