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Interview Like You're On a Sales Call

Posted: 03.13.2014

After many years in HR with a focus on recruiting talent there is one thing that keeps repeating itself with even the most successful executives - the lack of ability to translate those unique skills into an interview setting. This is definitely a discipline that requires preparation and practice to master. You know the basics to dress for success, show energy in posture and in your verbal responses. By all means, make sure you know their business, their market and product lines / services well. With the Internet there is no excuse not knowing their business. And positively, make sure they know your skills and what you bring to the party.

Below are some sure fire questions to help you prepare:

  • Why are you interested in this company and what makes this particular opportunity attractive to you?
  • What are your key objectives currently and what are your action plans to reach them?
  • Our pace of change is accelerating; initiatives continue to improve each month; describe how you drive change through your organization.
  • How do you make decisions? What are some of your past successes, and where have you missed? How do you adjust to a miss?
  • Describe what your areas of development are - what are your strengths?
  • What is your career aspiration and where do you see yourself in three/five years?
  • Describe a major setback in your career and tell how you overcame it.
  • What is your most noteworthy accomplishment and how did you achieve it?
  • What was the most complex work task, project, or assignment you have ever faced and how did you work through it?
  • How do you hold people accountable? How do you manage people?
  • How do you set goals, measure results and get around obstacles?
  • How do you plan and organize your work / projects, and prioritize tasks?
  • How do you help others understand change, and convince them accordingly?
  • How do you make decisions? Give an example of how you go about solving complex problems - describe how you get through to a decision.

There are many more, but these will basically help you exhibit decisiveness, influence, adaptability, organization, impact ability, urgency, communication and collaboration skills, and problem solving ability.

Bottom line - prepare well and be absolutely able to give specific examples in concise and detailed language. Listen to the question and make sure you answer well. Be careful not to build a watch for them; you'll loose them quickly. If you are unsure you have answered their question, pause and ask them if you have. Finally, do not forget to close well. It is ok to ask if they have any concerns that would keep you from moving forward. Express that you are extremely interested in moving forward to lean more about this opportunity. Exercise humility with a firm handshake knowing that you made an awesome, new connection, and perhaps put yourself in line for an upwardly mobile career move. Your first impressions, as well as your resume, are valuable tools for career enhancement. Practice and preparation are essential at every level of interviewing. I promise.

Bob Underwood, CPC - Career Mentor, LCFHRA

Underwood Recruiting, Inc.

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