It doesn’t matter if you’re being asked standard interview questions or behavioral interview questions, it’s crucial to answer the questions in a way that will tie your past accomplishments to future performance.
As always, your number-one objective is to receive an offer of employment, and since your objective is to get an offer, you must show why you are the best candidate for the position. Before you get to the interview, know what you can do for the company and be able to explain how your past career accomplishments are relevant to this position.
The interviewer will probably ask you to “Tell me about yourself.” Have a concise, informative, upbeat answer and wrap it up with this:
“I’d like to tell you more and target it to the search you’re conducting. What key accomplishments would I be responsible for if I were hired for this position?”
This puts the interview right on track, and you can spend time explaining how you fit the position and the value that you bring to the company.
In detailing your accomplishments, focus on the following:
- The problems you have encountered
- The solutions to these problems
- The results of the solutions
- The value of fixing the problems (preferably expressed in dollar values)
The more value you can bring to an organization, the more you are worth.
Be careful here. Use terms like accountable (accountability), responsible (responsibility), team, directed, coordinated, and managed. Never be negative about past employers or managers, as negative comments reflect poorly on you. Companies are looking for positive, “can-do” employees.
As you highlight your career experiences, it’s best if you can show experiences that are closely related to those the interviewer is facing. Learn everything you can about the company from every available information source, including the Internet.
Also, don’t underestimate the impact that physical examples of your accomplishments can have. This includes drawings, manuals, videos, artwork, etc.
Use whatever you need to use to tie past accomplishments to future performance . . . because that’s exactly what the interviewers will be doing in their effort to gauge whether or not you’re a fit for their position.
(For more information about successfully preparing for YOUR next interview, download a copy of Dan Simmons’s e-Book, Put Your Best You Forward: Simple Steps to a Successful Interview.)