Career Advancement Blog

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Ace Your Next Interview

Ace your next interview:

How to interview better than your interviewer

By Nicole Heinrich

Employers are looking for 3 things: If you can do the job, if you will do the job and if you’re a good fit. The purpose of this article is to help you become aware of the question behind the questions they are asking, so you will intuitively know the right answer, how to build trust, and convince your interviewer you are the right person for the job. Let’s take a closer look at the hiring company’s 3 main areas of interest.

1. Can you do the job? You can share your strengths and expertise with the interviewer but he may not believe you. When you demonstrate these strengths with your past accomplishments, they become real. The entire interview process is about building trust. The best way to articulate your accomplishments is through the CAR method. Challenge, Action, Result.

CAR example. The Accomplishment: You implemented new software at your company. The Challenge was implementing a global software installation. The Action you took was that you directed all planning, implementation and follow up activities for a team of 15 regional Project Managers. The Result was that the entire project was completed on time and on budget and received a 95% user satisfaction rate and the implementation saved the company x amount of dollars annually.

2. Will you do the job? The hiring manager wants to be certain that you really want to work for their company and that you are not simply looking for a paycheck and a soft place to land. Do your research. Know facts and figures about the company, the industry, and the position. Convey that you are looking for a solid long term future with the organization you’re interviewing with. Too many people get hired and then don’t make their new position a priority. They are “dialing it in” and not truly committed to the company or to their work. Let the hiring manager know about your career objectives and desire for career growth and relate that back to the specific requirements they are looking for.

3. Are you a good fit? Just like with dating, this is where chemistry comes into play. They will assess how they feel when they are with you. Be open, relaxed and authentic. Be aware of your body language, do not cross your arms, oversell yourself or convey arrogance, nervousness or rigidity. Mirror your interviewer but don’t overdo it. Be well prepared to increase confidence and calm. Make sure you dress appropriately, more conservative is always better. Show that you are flexible and adaptable via your accomplishment stories and communication. Smile and be enthusiastic. Be yourself. Remember that it’s ok if you don’t get the job. Every interview is an opportunity for learning. The right job WILL come along if you are diligently looking for it.

The three Interview Stages are: Screening, Qualifying, Approval.

Screening, Qualifying, Approval.

Screening determines if you are articulate, affordable and qualified for the job. Qualifying  determines how you work and handle stressful situations. Approval ensures that you are the best choice and fit for the job and will integrate well with the team.

How to handle a few of the most common screening questions:

1. Question: Why did you leave your last job?

What they are looking for: They want to know if you are a stable worker, whether you did well at your last job, and whether you will leave them high and dry.

Answer: As you know, the __ industry is going through many challenges and my company was not immune to it. In an effort to reduce costs, _ positions were impacted including mine. I’m proud of the contributions I made at XYZ and I look forward to using my analytical and problem solving skills in a new setting.

2. Question: What are your salary requirements?

What they are looking for: They don’t know you yet and want to eliminate you based on financial considerations. Try to deflect this question as long as possible. Let them fall in love with you before discussing money.

Answer: I prefer to learn more about the position and how I can contribute to your team before discussing salary. If they persist, you can say – I understand that salaries are between $X and $Y for similar positions (do your salary research in advance), is that consistent with your salary range?

3. Question: What is your greatest weakness?

What they are looking for: They want to elicit a “negative” response.

Answer: Use the Sandwich Model. Start with a positive, state the negative and end with a positive.

Positive: I am able to handle multiple projects simultaneously. As a result, I’m often asked to take on more projects.

Negative: However, sometimes I can over-extend myself with too many projects and aggressive deadlines.

Positive: I have learned how to minimize this by addressing my current workload, delegating wherever possible or negotiating the due date for the new project so I can be sure to meet all deadlines for all projects.

Here are some more of the most commonly asked questions. Prepare your answers in advance and you will have and advantage over the competition.

1. Tell me about yourself?

2.What are your strengths?

3. What is your management/work style?

4. How did you get along with your last boss?

5. Why are you the right person for this job?

6. Tell me about a time you faced a difficult challenge and how you solved it?

If you are interested in learning more or need a career coach, please contact Nicole Heinrich at: or call 312.259.3000.




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Have you every wondered if someone was lying to you? We share specific clues to know if someone is being truthful or deceptive. Based on the research of Paul Eckman, the man who inspired the TV show “Lie To Me”, we will talk about how spotting lies can help you in your professional and personal life.

03 – Career Change

If you are in career transition, laid off, fired or thinking of leaving your job, don’t worry! Nicole will help you overcome the fear of being unemployed and see this time as an opportunity to create a plan of action that will get you the career and life you want.