Saturday, June 09, 2007

Interviewing Authentically

A recent article in SHRM's HR Magazine (subscription required) suggests that some of today's job seekers have studied interview books so thoroughly that it is hard for the hiring manager to uncover authentic answers to their questions. Candidates are answering questions with what they believe is the "correct" answer as deemed by a book on interview strategy rather than speaking about their specific experiences.

Nothing kills a candidate's chances for a job faster than a perceived lack of authenticity. When I prepare candidates for interviews, I recommend forgetting about the interview books and concentrating on success stories. Write out your stories using the PAR system. Look at Problems faced on the job, the Actions you took to fix the problems, and the quantifiable Results of your actions. Look for trends within your stories and group your experiences into categories based on the story themes. Create groupings of stories that effectively demonstrate your competencies as a leader, decision maker, creative problem solver, collaborative business partner, or anything else that is an integral part of your professional brand.

By using this strategy, you eliminate the need to use stale responses to the hiring manager's questions. Regardless of the question asked, you will have an authentic story that demonstrates your competency within a given area. Good interviewing is all about building a relationship with a hiring authority. Offer responses that showcase your success and prove your value add. You will generate immediate credibility with the hiring authority and score big points in the interview game.



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