5 Interview Hacks to Get You Noticed

Hi there good people

Wangari Maina here with another delightful serving of Esteemed talks.

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Today, I would like to share with you 5 interview hacks that will leave your interviewer eager enough to see you as part of the team they are hiring for.

We will work our way from 5 to 1.

  1. Design your CV and application

The biggest blunder you can make is to prepare your CV or application letter with the mindset of an employee seeking a job. You need to stop and think like the section head on the hiring panel. The primary question to ask is this, “If I was hiring for this position, what would I be looking for compared to the advert that has been issued?” Consider yourself a salesperson selling product YOU with nothing but a brochure. Why will your customer pick that brochure among a gazillion others when they are limited on time and they are tired?

Your application should be so well designed and thought through that if it were the 873rd out of a pile of 1,000, it will re-energize the interviewer enough to want to call you to book an interview date.

  1. Sell Achievements, not experience

At an interview session limited by time, you don’t want to be the farmer who went to the market to sell how he grew tomatoes instead of selling the tomatoes.

If you are interviewing for a sales position, your achievements will include how your sales impacted the revenues of your department. If you are a pharmacist, your experience is how many years you have dispensed medicine while your achievement is how your customer interaction led to 80% of customer retention. There is a world of difference between saying, “I have handled the marketing docket for five years” and, “In the five years I have handled the marketing docket, I have been able to save the company up to 10% of the marketing budget without compromising on the effectiveness of planned campaigns and without short changing the suppliers.”

Achievements are your tomatoes. Experience is the process of growing the tomatoes

  1. Deploy the competencies

This is just a full topic that cannot be exhausted in such a short podcast, but I will try to do it justice. Job adverts will by and large tell you the kind of person that an organization is looking for.

Having sat through my fair share of interviews, a lot of people fall short because they fail to deploy the main competencies desired by the potential employer.

Imagine you are interviewing as a manager and you are asked to explain a trend in the industry. Then you start to fumble with the numbers, until the panel is confused. You have just scored a zero for clarity and effective business communication which is required of any manager.

Let me ask you, what kind of score do you think will make if you went into an interview where no one told you how long it will take and you said something like, “Before we start, I would appreciate if you could tell me how long the interview will take. Not because I am going anywhere else but because I would like to answer the questions you have as exhaustively as possible while still respecting your time.” And of course, you say it with a smile!

  1. Negotiate your terms

When it comes to discussing compensation, a lot of people subconsciously become employees at the mercy of their employers. They quickly forget that they are selling a quality product for which an equivalent compensation should be given. YOU ARE THE PRODUCT. A direct question in an interview deserves a direct answer. When the interviewer asks about salary, your answer should be clear. Don’t mellow or be intimidated. In fact, as a socio-culturalist, author David Paul Mavia once advised me, avoid quoting from your point of need. Needs have a way of minimizing your worth.

  1. Interview the interviewer

If successful, you will be spending 8 to 12 hours with the employer. It therefore doesn’t hurt to know a little more about them. And that is the 2nd most important part of an interview. To know who you want to work for. To put a face to what the website and social handles say. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like, “what success paths would you chart for me in such a position?” or, “Is this a newly created position or an existing one?”

Depending on the answer, you can prod further with questions like, “what impact do you expect this position to have on the overall company strategy?” or “what happened to the previous office holder?”

Such questions are very forward, I must admit. But do you remember hacks number 2, 3 and 4? Such questions are the perfect bow to you as a packaged gift for the organization. Your questions are a pointer to your competencies; you are able to set the rules as you show how your achievements and experience can help them achieve their overall strategy; and you actually support your asking price with evidence that you understand your role and contribution.

That’s it for this set of talks.

Thank you for taking the time to listen in today. For feedback and questions about this conversation, please send them to walkwithme@esteemedonline.com

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