Cut to the Front of the Interview Line

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cutofinterviewcoach1The question is, “How can you make yourself stand out when there are so many other candidates looking at the same job?”

The answer is to “focus” – focus on what makes you unique.

Let’s assume that you have an outstanding resume and that you make it to the top of the stack of resumes of people to be called for an interview. You, and maybe nine or ten other equally qualified people for the position, that is.

Because companies have so many candidates to choose from, they are interviewing more people so that they can select the “best.” When you are lucky enough to be invited to an interview, it is essential that you be ready to sell yourself, to let the interviewers know what makes you unique, what added value you can bring to the position—in other words, why you are the best person for the job.

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Is “Behavioral Interviewing” a New Technique?

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Behavioral Interviewing

No, behavioral interviewing has been around since the 70’s when industrial psychologists developed a way of “accurately” predicting whether a person would succeed in a job. They concluded that if candidates were asked questions that requested examples of past behavior it would be an indicator of their future behavior.

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Questions For You To Ask

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1. Ask questions that came up during the interview. In other words, if they have talked a lot about a certain thing – “databases” – make sure you ask some questions about databases. “It seems from the questions you asked me, or from what I am picking up today…. Could you tell me more – or some other question you want clarified that came up during the interview. (Read between the lines).

2. “Do you have any doubts that I can do this job?”

3. “Is there any additional information that I can provide to you that would convince you that I am the best person for this job……..(drum roll) because I believe I am. (only if you believe you are) Isn’t this kind of like “closing” or “asking for the sale?”

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Practice Makes Perfect

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The Mock Interview

Try the mock interview you might like it. You will get valuable feedback needed to improve.

As with every skill you’ve ever learned, you have to learn the technique and then practice, practice, practice.

Julia’s story:

Julia is an accomplished tennis player who has worked on her stroke and technique for many years. She has taken lessons from pros, and listened to their advice when they gave Her their critiques.

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By Carole Martin


By doing some basic preparation, you can determine your uniqueness and where you should focus your attention.

The first step in this process is to identify your five strengths.

These strengths are the areas where you do very well.

This may take some thought on your part.

What are your strengths?

Think about previous performance appraisals – what was said or written about you? What would your co-workers or ex-bosses say about you? Positive things, of course.

  • List the skills and experiences you have that would be required in the type of job you are seeking.
  • For instance, a technical job would focus on programs, languages, and platforms, etc.

  • Give some thought to those skills in which you excel, those that are referred to as the “soft skills.”
  • These skills can be viewed as transferable– you can take them with you to any job you hold.

    Examples of these skills are your communication and people skills, or your time-management and project-management skills, or your ability to build strong relationships, or your ability to influence others.

  • Lastly, think of the personal traits that make you unique.
  • Maybe you never miss deadlines, or perhaps you are willing to do above and beyond what is asked, or perhaps you have a great attitude. (Don’t dismiss these traits—many people have been fired for negative personal traits rather than for lack of knowledge).

    When you have identified your five strengths, make a list of those strengths and some examples of when those strengths have helped you achieve results on the job.

    It will be essential that you can not only identify your strengths, but that you also have examples and stories of times when you demonstrated those strengths in the past.

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    By Carole Martin


    Questions You Should Ask

    By Carole Martin –

    At some point, usually at the conclusion of the interview, you may be asked, “Do you have any questions?” A common answer to this question is, “No, I think you’ve covered everything very well.” This is the wrong answer! You have passed up your opportunity to ask some critical questions that may make a difference as to whether you want to work for this company.

    Timing is key. The first round of interviews is about discovery: finding out about the job and the company, not about the benefits, or raises. Good questions to ask in the first round are about the job content, the company culture, the future of the company.

    The interview should an exchange of information. What does the company want, and what do you have to offer? But, also what do they have to offer, and what do you want? It is important that you express an interest in the company and the work being done, not just “what’s in it for me?”

    By asking questions you will demonstrate investigative skills, and that you are particular about the company you work for, and that you are not going to take just any offer that is made.

    It is also important to consider whom you are talking to.

    The Human Resources person is the one likely to know about job descriptions, the morale or the company culture. The hiring manager, your future boss, is the person to ask about the department, It is also important to consider whom you are talking to. The Human Resources person is the one likely to know about job descriptions, qualities being sought, the morale or the company culture. The hiring manager, your future boss, is the person to ask about the department, the team you will be working with, the challenges of the job.

    Questions NOT to ask in the first rounds of interviewing.

    Questions about salary, stock options, vacation, holiday schedule, benefits.
    Don’t ask questions that have already been answered in the interview.
    Don’t “grill” the interviewer – it’s ok to ask about the person’s background, but as an interested party, not an interrogator.

    Questions TO ASK in the first rounds of interviewing.

    Ask for a copy of the job description. Ask why is this job open? What qualities are you seeking in the person for this job? What is the next step? When will you make your selection?
    Prepare five or six questions before the interview and take them with you. When the time comes for you ask questions, make sure you are ready to find out some important information. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity.

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