The Secret To Nailing That Interview And Getting The Job You Want
The Secret To Nailing That
Interview And Getting The Job You
Imagine yourself in the market for new winter boots.
You walk into your favorite shoe store, and a friendly assistant
approaches you. "Hello!" she exclaims, while beaming her most
customer-friendly smile. "How can I help you today?"
"Well, I'm looking for winter boots," you reply, and go on to describe
the boots: "I'd like them in black, calf-high, with a fur trim. I don't like
heels, but I do need the sole to have a decent grip."
The assistant appears to be taking mental notes as she nods her head
enthusiastically. You notice this spirited zest and cautiously add,
"Oh, just so you know, they're for my next vacation. I'm heading out to
Antarctica." You leave out the part about being on the final leg of your
20-must-see-places-before-you-die trip. She has enough details.
The assistant leaves with the instructions and, moments later, returns
with an armful of boxes. Slowly, she opens the lids and starts to reveal
"I think you'll love these," she claims, handing you a pair of red ankle
Seeing the disappointment on your face, she grabs another pair. "Oh
these.These are simply perfection."
The camel-colored concoctions most certainly are not.
Twenty minutes later, you find yourself on the bad side of frustrated
and wonder if anything you'd requested resonated at all.
This story has a point: When the shopper is your potential new
employer, and the friendly assistant is you, the last thing you want to
do is hand over red boots when black ones were requested.
In other words, know what your interviewer wants before you
begin handing them solutions. Get inside their head and figure
out what their most pressing needs are. And proceed to show them
how you'll fix them - in your resume, your cover letter and your
Do your homework
As an interviewee, your job isn't to show up at the interview prepared
to answer questions. Your job is to have answers prepared in
anticipation of questions.
If the very thought of this makes you shudder with fear, fret not. It'll
take some work, but it's easier than you think.
Whether the interview is a done deal or you're trying to break into a
new business, knowing what issues your hiring manager is facing is
the key to getting noticed.
Interview people. Reach out to people in the business. Use your
network to create warm introductions. When speaking to the
employees, ask them about challenges they face in the business and
their team. Get as much detail as you can.
Go online. Many businesses participate in industry forums and
communities. LinkedIn is the biggest place. Seek out where your
target employer is and read the latest updates. A wealth of information
Speak to competitors. Businesses in the same industry face similar
issues. Again, ask your network to make warm introductions and
speak to employees of competing businesses. As well as understanding
what challenges they face, this will help in researching the competition
of your interviewer. Everyone likes inside information.
Bulletproof your resume
Armed with your background information, your next step is to show
'em what you're made of.
Given the challenges and issues you've noted, what can you do to solve
them? What have you done in the past that displays your skills and
abilities in fixing the issues? What expertise can you provide that the
employer doesn't already have?
This is difficult to do. It's up to you to think creatively and dig deep.
Once you know what the answers are, write your resume to include
them for every relevant job you've done. Use different formatting
techniques (bold, italic, changing text size) to draw the eye to those
And while you're perfecting your resume, know this: 80 percent of
your competition won't think of doing this. They'll turn up at the
interview ready to answer questions using knowledge of their
experience alone. And you? You'll turn up with the answers the
employer previously only wished had existed.
D-day arrives. Are you prepared? You will be, right? Because in
addition to research on competitors and the killer resume you created,
you also prepared examples of how you can be of value to the
interviewer, didn't you?
No? Let's fix that.
When you note the key issues facing the interviewer and find
solutions, your focus will be on how you can lead those solutions.
Write these down in detail, create a case study and make your solution
The power of paper: When you're in the interview room and you're
ready to talk about your solutions, don't just discuss them. Pull out the
paper that has the magic case study or detailed description on it and
hand it over to the employer. "Let me show you something I've
created," you'll exclaim, handing them your paper.
What impact does this have? It gives them a solution to their problem.
It shows them you have initiative. And it makes their decision to hire
Much like if the assistant had brought those black, fur-trimmed boots
with a good grip.
Taking these steps will put you in the front line of 80 percent of those
competing for the same job. You'll have done your homework. You'll
have networked with your future colleagues already.
And the interview? It'll be a mere formality.