Managers will usually ask you a prepared set of questions in an interview, but for each manager, there is also a set of questions behind the questions that are absolutely critical to the process. This is what is referred to as mental schema. One critical question is, “As a manager, can I feel secure that this hire will not fail me? Even better, can I be sure that the hire will substantially overachieve for me?” A clear, concise, and energetic recitation of your results will satisfy these concerns.
So how do you go about preparing a list of results that will be compelling and powerful?
You need to find a way to measure your work experience even if you’re not currently in a job where your performance is measured in a specific way, even if you don’t get performance reviews or career coaching. For example, what awards have you won? What percentage of results have you achieved? What things have you done—accomplishments, articles, discoveries—that have distinguished you in your field or the field you’re trying to get into? Did you bring a project in ahead of budget? Did you save the company money? Did you organize something or pull off an event? These are all the types of things that should be a part of your results statement.
Not everyone has top-caliber results, so you may need to look in your background to identify the winning things that differentiate you.
Here are some questions that will help you come up with a results list:
Have you ever been named Employee of the Month?
Have you written an article? (It doesn’t need to be a national publication; a company or industry newsletter counts!)
Did you finish a project ahead of time?
How many projects?
Did you finish any projects under budget?
Did you get rated an A or top 1 percent in your group, top 5 percent, or top 15 out of two hundred in the country?
Did you develop a specialized program, cure, or accounting system?
Have you done something no one else at your company has?
Did you overachieve in athletics, a club, or in volunteer work?
Did you get asked to be the lead for a special implementation?
Did you make a discovery that saved money?
Did you bring in or save a relationship that made the company money?
If there are no examples of excellence in what you’ve done during the last five years, then you need to ask, “Why not? Why haven’t I won an award or overachieved? What do I need to shift or change in myself so that I do?”
Once you have your list of results, be sure it’s featured prominently on your résumé, too. While managers do look at résumés, more often than not they just take a quick glance. So the first two bullets of your experience under each section of your résumé need to highlight your results. Where did you differentiate yourself? What makes you special? Why should a manager talk to you instead of everybody else asking for this opportunity? I’ve often interviewed people who have been number one or number two at their job in the world or who have won awards at the company they’ve been with, but those results are not anywhere on their résumés, nor do they come up when I speak with them on the phone or in person.
Source: CRACKING THE CODE TO A SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEW
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