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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

The Key to Interview Magic

26 May 2011 5:36 PM | Anonymous

By Stephanie Clark

What is it that makes the interview team’s ears perk up, their scribbling of answers to intensify, their collective energy to positively electrify the room? Is it related to the candidate’s charisma, brand of aftershave or cologne, or a candidate’s relation to the CEO? Read on to get to the bottom of what creates interview magic.

Actually, an interview’s magic is more related to the resume than to aftershave or connections. Like the resume, the interview must include critical pieces of information to spark intense interest that leads to a sense of hiring urgency. As a foundational job search piece, the resume comes first. Akin to the 2x4s that create a building structure’s form, a resume structures your credentials into easy to follow information that identifies relevant skills and distills years of practice into performance highlights.

Consider the following when creating either your resume’s content or your interview answers: Identify the skills you possess that are necessary, and I don’t mean “great communication skills”! Hard skills will build your credibility faster than claiming that you know how to speak. Show you have the actual skills needed to be a programmer, an elementary school teacher, a chief administrative officer or bus driver.

Now pepper your replies to typical interview questions with these skills. These are also referred to as key words and key phrases. A few key word examples, taken from diverse position requirements, are as follows: exceeding sales objectives, planning operational strategies, identifying market share, applying behavior management, conducting executive level presentations, adhering to safety standards and procedures, using Point of Sale (POS) technology. Now you’re talkin’!

And speaking of “talkin’” you’ll have plenty of opportunity during the interview to prove your communication prowess. This is something that many people have some trouble with. From nerves that thwart the tongue’s cooperation to a lack of preparation that makes valuable details scarce, the typical interviewee makes us think more of Homer Simpson than a seasoned performer.

Is there a way to ensure that you get your point across? Of course! Weave a story, tell a (true) tale and mesmerize the interview team with those “great communication skills” that you most likely have referred to in your resume. Again, sprinkle your workplace accomplishment story with the skills you used in delivering on that feat, and you’re a shoo-in.

Interview magic requires preparation, research, self-knowledge and knowledge of the challenges facing the company to which you’ve applied. And it’s not magic at all, although it might feel like it when they call you to offer you the position.

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