By Daniel C. Simmons, CPC

We’re all a bit nervous when being interviewed for a job, but if you can remember to do one thing throughout it would be to answer questions in such a way that your past accomplishments are tied to your future performance for this company.

Your primary objective is to come out of the interview with an offer of employment. In order to do this you have got to communicate why you are the single best candidate to fill the position. Even before you get called for the interview, determine what it is that you can offer this company and figure out how you are going to explain this by tying your previous career accomplishments to the requirements of this job.

The interviewer will most likely ask you to tell them about yourself. Be ready with a concise, positive, informative answer that ends with you asking a question something like this:

“I’d like to tell you more with regard to the job I’m interviewing for. What would I mainly be responsible for accomplishing if I were brought onboard for this position?”

This keeps the interview process on track in defining the expectations of the company in choosing someone for this position. It gives you an opportunity to explain your qualifications for the position and the amount of value you have to offer the company in this role.

In discussing your accomplishments try to focus on the essentials:

  • The problems you faced in previous jobs
  • The solutions you came up with to solve the problems
  • The results you achieved implementing your solutions
  • The value to the company of solving the problems. If you can quantify this in percentages or dollar amounts, this will reinforce the point.

The more value that you can offer a company, the more money you can command.

You need to be a bit careful in describing your past role(s). If you can use words like accountability, responsibility, managed, directed, and team you’ll be fine. It is never a good idea to speak in negative terms about past managers or employers. Negative comments will only show you in a bad light. Companies want positive, can-do type employees.

While highlighting past career experiences, mention the accomplishments that are most closely related to the job you’re interviewing for. Prior to the interview research the company using every available source on the Internet.

If you can bring physical examples of your work in the form of charts, videos, manuals, artwork and/or drawings, this can make a very strong impression.

Use any means possible to tie your past accomplishments to your future performance at this company. This is exactly what the interviewer is trying to do in assessing your suitability for the position.

(For more information to help you successfully prepare for YOUR big interview, download a copy of Dan Simmons’ e-Book, Put Your Best You Forward: Simple Steps to a Successful Interview.)