Interviewing is the time to Sell your Skills and Experience

Our Eagles won the Super Bowl!

Best news to hit Philadelphia in quite a while! It was also great listening to the players and coaches share the  fun they had all year in their quest to bring the Lombardi Trophy to the City of Brotherly love. It was fun for them and it was certainly fun for us to watch! They were having a great time playing together, as a team; and that chemistry certainly really made a difference in the end! When interviewed, to a man those Eagles were gracious, giving credit to their counterparts, players and coaches.

Refreshing to see for sure!

It was refreshing and totally appropriate for the circumstances, team sports. However, deflection of credit to others, while appropriate and admiral in almost all circumstances can be overdone in an  interview situation especially. Deflecting too much credit to others can leave interviewers frustrated and confused as to what you actually are able to contribute….after all the person you are speaking with can’t hire your whole team!

A ridiculous but illustrative example I sometimes use is the person who brought the coffee every day to the NASA team in the 60’s could accurately say: ‘I was part of the team that put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon!’ While technically accurate, and certainly impressive, it is also totally misleading.

This seems pretty obvious. However, I have done too many ‘post mortems’ on interviews that failed on this point. Interviews can go awry for many reasons, but having things flop because the interviewer couldn’t get a good sense of what you actually do is a real shame.

Speak in “I” not “We” terms

One of the most common mistakes candidates make when answering questions about their current roles and responsibilities is to respond in the first person plural. WE do this and WE do that. While admirable and sometime accurate, it leaves the interviewer with a problem. Since he/she can’t hire your whole team, they need to know what YOU actually do?  A skilled interviewer can often penetrate this cloudiness. However, many interviewers are NOT thoroughly trained or skilled at the art of Q+A and conversation. Most often they are interviewing you because they are good at their jobs and not because they are good at finding out about you and your job.

interviewing methods

When posed a question about your role, your responsibilities or the work flow in your current or past roles, be aware that it is important the interviewer come away with a factual understanding of what you do. To be ready to do this well, you need to prepare.

Try posing and practicing your answers to questions of this kind. You can practice with a friend. When your listener comes away with a clear understanding of what you DO every day, you will have learned!

Good luck!