Goal of the Interview: To get a Job Offer!
Go to the interview with the intention of eliciting a job offer. If you go on the interview to gather information and then decide if you want the job, the company may detect a lack of interest and not make a job offer.
The first rule of interviewing is: "decide" you want the job, act accordingly during the interview, and evaluate the opportunity after you have all of the information from the interview (the company makes you an offer).
Short Synopsis -- "Two Minute Commercial" of your entire career
Hand-write a summary of your career since college graduation. This summary should be a maximum of one page. This is only for your benefit and is not for written presentation to the company (only verbal).
Emphasize increasing levels of responsibility -- which is what the company is searching for. This will prepare you for the "Tell me about yourself" question. The best response to any question that is so broadly stated is to ask a focusing question, such as:
- "I'd be glad to tell you about myself, where would you like me to start?"
- "As I'm here on a job interview, let me give you the highlights of my career."
Individual Job Summary
Write a one-page maximum handwritten summary about each position in which you worked since college, emphasizing achievements and accomplishments. Try to develop a list that reflects individual (I) and team (we) accomplishments. It may help to use the PSRV formula, which stands for:
- Problem -- What was the problem?
- Solution -- How did you do to solve the problem?
- Result -- What was the outcome?
- Value -- Why was it worth doing? This is best expressed in dollars made or saved for your employer.
When defining your value to the organization, there are several methods:
- Dollars and cents (E.g., saved $1 million by optimizing acid consumption)
- improvements (E.g., reduced downtime 5)
- Rank order (E.g., best environmental compliance record in last 5 years)
- General statement that infers value (E.g., obtained a more flexible air permit than our main competitor, allowing us to process a greater variety of feedstock and thereby improving our margins and gaining a competitive edge)
These are in order from the most to least preferred method of expressing value. It is imperative to periodically evaluate your money making/saving contributions.
The job summaries prepare you to sell yourself to the company on the interview. At the interview, keep the following points in mind:
- The burden is on you to communicate your PSRV statements during the interview, at appropriate times.
- Bragging is using adjectives (subjective data) to describe your work. The best way to describe your work is to use facts (objective data). However, it is acceptable to use adjectives to talk about yourself or your personality.
- Be sure to give examples to elaborate and expand upon your answers to their question. The best examples will come from your PSRV list. This is one of the single best things you can do to interview well. By giving specific, pertinent examples and by telling relevant stories to support your answers, you will jump ahead of the competition.
In your short synopsis and job summaries it is helpful to use past tense verbs to "create" a sense of action, leadership, and results. Use these words in your PSRV statement and in your "Two Minute Commercial."
- Action Words -- Planned, created, initiated, developed, conceived.
- Leadership Words -- Organized, directed, managed, coordinated.
- Results Words -- Prevented, reduced, increased, achieved.
Use the words in your interviewing vocabulary. Note: You should have a mix of individual and team accomplishments, so be aware of "I" and "we" statements.