Hiring Managers have the nearly impossible task of figuring out whether you are the best job candidate to fill their company's open position. You know your resume is peppered with examples of 'positive spin', creative literary attempts to show your skills in the best light possible.
Well, they know it too. Your resume is one of hundreds a hiring manager sees every day - if they have been in their job for any length of time, they've probably seen hundreds of thousands of them. They've seen great cover letters, typos out the wazoo, the clever and the cute. How they manage to actually read another resume is beyond human comprehension.
So don't worry too much about presenting the 'perfect resume'; it's only going to get skimmed, at best. Concentrate on being able to answer questions designed to get at the root of how you might act if you get the job you are applying for. Assuming you have assessed the job function after researching the company, you should prepare for the interview by considering some of the following questions:
- "What was the most difficult personnel problem you faced in your last job, and how did you overcome it?"
- "Describe a situation that got out of hand in your last job and how you handled it."
- "Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss about how to solve a problem. What was the end result?"
Interviewers assume that your past behavior is a good indicator of future actions. They will be looking into your past through the stories you tell during the interview, attempting to determine if your methods for solving potentially problematic situations will make a good fit within their company. Your resume says you have certain skills - do your stories about how you solved problems at your last job show these skills in action?
Before you enter the interview stage you should attempt to figure out what the core competencies of the job are, and remember/create stories that clearly show how you possess these particular skills. Do exactly what the hiring manager is doing - trying to figure out what skills and kinds of behavior the job requires. Are the skills related to technical proficiency, or more toward motivational or leadership skills?
Ask for a copy of the job description, and see if you can uncover what abilities will be assessed in the interview. Talk to employees at the company to get clues as to the company's core values and culture. You may not get all the answers, but you'll be better prepared with a few stories from your last few jobs. This is the kind of edge you'll need to separate yourself from the other twenty people interviewing for the job.
- Mark Poppen"
<Note from JobFairy.com: You know, I've noticed that most people are not technically savvy enough to ask more than the basic tech questions. Especially managers, who due to their egos won't relinquish the responsibility of hiring to someone who could give me a serious technical workout. So I get a lot of behavioral interviews. The key to aceing these is to come off as a team player who loves to be around people and who does whatever their boss says. Bosses are only in the market for someone they can control. See the Weblog page for further discussion on the topic.>