Winning Interview Preparation


How should I prepare for a winning interview?

In addition to researching the company to learn about their products, services, competitors, profits…….  and  thoroughly reviewing your resume to make sure you are able to answer questions about it, the most effective method of interview preparation is to write true stories outlining how you have handled certain situations in the past.  Past performance is the best way to predict future behavior and employers are most interested in what you will do for THEM.   Being able to provide examples of your performance could make the difference between getting the job or remaining unemployed.

Think back over your career and jot down in brief outline form enough information that will enable you to rapidly think of intelligent responses to an employer’s questions.   Outlining your stories is better than writing out paragraphs because if you attempt to memorize a response you run the risk of forgetting what you meant to say or appearing over rehearsed.  Since you don’t know what you will be asked, it is a good idea to prepare at least 20 stories.

Be prepared with stories covering the following topics: 

Problem Solving;  Decision Making;  Initiative; Achievement/Drive; Handling Details;  Oral Communication;  Conflict Management; Coordinating/Leading Others;  Managing Stress or a time when you failed;  Technical Expertise.

An example of my own FISO (Facts, Impediment, Steps, Outcome) story in the problem solving category:

Facts—Client was demanding we change our process.

Impediment—Client indicated this might be a deal breaker and my employer was unable to accommodate client request.

Steps—Conference call with client and their attorney.   I acknowledged that because they were all busy people we would concentrate on what we could do for the client instead of what we couldn’t do and I outlined several options.

Outcome—Client selected one of the outlined options.  Problem solved.

I review my stories before each interview and if I’m asked about my problem solving skills I relate how I handled the above scenario.  This type of answer is much more effective than just assuring the interviewer you are great at problem solving.

Please create your own FISO stories and try this approach on your next interview.  Please post a comment on my blog letting me know how this worked for you.  If you have any other suggestions please share for the benefit of other job searchers.

Best of luck in your job search.

Rose Waltz 

http://www.rosewaltz.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rosewaltz 

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2 Comments on “Winning Interview Preparation”

  1. Mike Gower Says:

    Rose,

    This is a great article. Having a few pre-planned examples of previous work situations is an excellent way to prepare for an interview.

    It helps portray the characteristcs that you are trying to demonstrate (ie- leadership, results, inititive, team work, etc). Taking the time to remember and visualize the example in advance will allow for a smoother presentation during the interview.

    Great article.


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