The job interview is always a high-stakes conversation, impacting your lifestyle and your paycheck if you get it right. Often, in the face of a difficult conversation, it’s useful to identify a single focus, in order to keep the dialogue on track. Because where you put your attention is where you will find your results. Focusing on a simple phrase can help you to navigate a complicated conversation. Especially if that phrase always leads you towards the outcomes you seek.
Four Words. One Powerful Result.
As you enter into the interview there is a destination you wish to reach. A new opportunity, a new level of responsibility, a new place in your career journey. The path you must travel includes several interviews and conversations about where you’ve been, in order to determine where you’re going. While every journey – even a journey of a thousand miles – begins with a single step, that step always begins where you are. Right now.
Credibility and Expertise.
Four words can help you on your career journey, via a phrase that points towards your natural leadership skills. This simple phrase is something that anyone can use, and top performers always do, to guide the conversation to a desired result.
Here they are:
I’ve thought this through.
I’ve thought this through can help you to see new ways of looking at the tough interview questions. The phrase is useful at every stage of the interview:
- Before You Begin Your Journey: I’ve thought this throughpoints in the direction of researching your company, and your interviewer. That means doing a deep dive on LinkedIn, and other social media, so that you can learn as much about them as they will about you. An effective interview isn’t a one-way interrogation; it’s a conversation. Sure, they’re wondering if you’re a fit for the company – but aren’t you wondering if the company is a fit for you? Not all jobs are created equally, even if the pay stub is exactly the same. Look at people and culture before you have that first phone interview or video conference. Because showing that you know about them will help them to know something about you. (Namely, that you’re the candidate who does her homework).
- During Your Interview: Inevitably, you will be asked to talk about yourself and your background. Situational interview questions aren’t just focused on your experience – these questions provide insight into your critical thinking skills. How did you handle the situation, when the customer started yelling and threatening to sue? What have you done in the past to establish credibility with Gen-Xers and Millennials, for example? Show how you thought things through, and the outcomes you created as a result of your critical thinking skills. Being able to see the big picture, and focusing on the small details within it, can be a valuable asset for an employer. When you share your circumstances as well as how you thought things through, you’re really responding to the interviewer – because you’re showcasing your critical thinking skills.
- As You Complete A Story: Leaders look in the direction of service. So, when you share a story or experience you’ve had, it might be useful to make sure that your story connected with your interviewer. If you’ve thought this through, that means that you’re thinking about how your experience is a fit for the person right in front of you. One way to find out? Ask them. Does your experience fit with what they are looking for? How could you share more elaboration in order to make your message more valuable? How can you help your interviewer to learn what they need to know (namely, that you are the best candidate because you think things through)? And thinking things through isn’t a call for you to get lost in research, or a long-winded description of your personal struggle from birth up til yesterday. Think about how your education, skills and experience matter to the person who matters most: your interviewer. It’s valuable to share your leadership journey from the standpoint of “I’ve thought this through” but the advanced class uses two more words to make a real impact: for you. Have you thought about what your education, skillset and past experience means to the person right in front of you? Relationships matter, and creating a connection could be the key to your dream job. After all, there are a lot of people out there with a lot of skills – CPA, PM, PoE, Ph.D. Connection is what separates your skillset from the rest.
Like a GPS for your interview, I’ve thought this through is the best way to help yourself on your career journey. Sharing your story is a vital part of the interview process, but phrasing your results in terms of your next employer is what high achievers do. As you consider your dream job, think through how the interview might play out. Visualize yourself, and your story, as a story about service – a valuable service that you’re offering to your potential employer. And, once you’ve thought that through, isn’t that the best approach to create your next success?