By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS
You are finally starting the interview.  The first part happens quickly.  During that time you need to be speaking about things that can establish rapport. Hopefully, you paid attention as you walked into the room and noticed something that you can speak about. Be observant. Show them your human side “This is who I am in your presence.”

Most likely, the first question will be the dreaded “So, tell me about yourself.”  You know it is coming so prepare for it. This way it will roll off of your tongue with ease. “Tell me about yourself” means give them your Value Proposition. Manipulate the Value Proposition so that ethically and professionally you can show them that you have what they are looking for. If you did it, tell it. You are more than three skills and strengths. To help you with this part, I recommend to my clients that they read the Mission Statement of the company.  Another part of my recommended research involves finding out about the culture of the company.  Go to sites like, Twitter, facebook, Glass Door and LinkedIn to gain insight into the company’s culture.

Interviewing is like playing a game of Ping Pong.  The interviewer asks questions, you ask questions and so it goes. From all of this, the interviewer is able to see your motivation, fit, skill sets, impact, objectives, and challenges. They try to figure out “What’s  a day like when you are working.  Your answers need to expose: your validation stories, achievements, accomplishments, proof of skills, results/impact, what the tie in is for the company if you get hired.  This is the chance for the Hiring Decision Maker to see  who is special; who has differentiated themselves in the pack. Therefore, you need to become a marketeer and sell yourself to the Hiring Decision Maker to show them that you have what they want; you are the special one! It is all right to “Blow Your Own Horn” here.  Provide your proof of skills. Let them know that you mentored, trained, identified customer needs, etc.  Provide the information on awards you received, increased responsibilities you were given or other metrics.

The most important thing is to drive home the point that “This is what happened because I went to work.” The chocolate frosting on the cake is to provide the Hiring Decision Maker with the “Tie In.”  Connect the dots for the Hiring Decision Maker!  Leave nothing to assumption.

Signaling the end of the interview, the Hiring Decision Maker may ask if you have any more questions. You should replay your Value Proposition one more time with the new challenges you have learned during the interview added in to show that you have “married” yourself to the job. For example, “I am a skilled, experienced guru of Project Management. I understand your need for “X” (the challenges that were discussed previously). This then becomes an “aha” moment for the Hiring Decision Maker as he or she realizes that you really were listening to what they had to say!

Now it is time for the sales part. Ask the following questions:

1. What are the next steps? Then be quiet and listen.

2. Do you have any concerns; is there anything that I said or did not say that would prevent me from getting to the next step? If they answer in the affirmative, take no more that thirty seconds and fix the issue.  Ask if there are any other concerns to overcome before you leave.

Afterwards, reach back to the Hiring Decision Maker in a Thank You letter that reiterates the challenges that were discussed and your solutions.

In my next posting, I will discuss some questions asked on interviews, explain the motivation and guide you through the answers to help boost your confidence and lower your nervousness. As always, please leave me a comment and let me know if this posting helped you. If I can be of assistance to you in search, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected]. I wish you every success, let’s get to work.