You must be heartily sick of hearing Career Coaches pounding on about ‘key skills and achievements’. Actually – I am too, so I’m going to take a different approach. Writing skills and achievements is the easy part. Articulating the benefit of the achievement seems to be the challenging chestnut for my clients – and that’s where a decent coach comes in.
Most CV’s I read have achievements listed. And most end up with me saying, “So what?”. The challenge is to answer the ‘so what?’. i.e. ‘Key Benefits’. When you’ve cracked this chestnut – you’ll love interviewing – rather than dread it. You’ll engage and ‘wow’ the interviewer, instead of boring them with mediocre answers.
Questions – behavioral and technical – “Tell me about a time when….” or “What would you do if…” Interviewers must sigh every time they have to ask these. Hanging on the edge of their seat, gripping their pen, waiting to write down a ‘wow’ answer…. And then…… nothing! Dead end. Their response typically, “Thank you”. Full stop. Period. Blank face. On to the next question. You’re left wondering; Did I answer that question OK?
The rule: Answer in the context of the hiring managers needs. For instance, say you’re interviewing for the role of ‘Head of Product’ and, because you’ve researched the company and found out that they have challenges around increased competitor activity and delayed product – you could weave into your answer – without embarrassing your interviewer, a close reference to how your achievement would apply to a similar situation in their own organisation. It then resonates with your prospective hiring manager – i.e. The ‘so what?’ is answered and they sit back and think – poker faced of course, “you know what – this person is going to do it for me!”.
So – that’s really the chestnut to crack. And that’s why benefits are so important. The ‘wow’ factor stuff. That’s the difference between a great interview and a mediocre interview. When the recruitment agent says “there were other candidates that demonstrated a better fit for the role…”. What they’re saying is they nailed the ‘benefit statements’. You didn’t.
It takes practice, and it takes a great ‘coach’ to see and not accept mediocrity. To test and challenge you.
If you see another ad selling ’50 Top Answers to Interview Questions’ – Think twice before you buy. You’d be better to spend time honing your benefit statements. Sure – practice hypothetical questions. But never provide ‘canned’ answers that don’t resonate.
Engage the hiring manager in your thought leadership. Whatever level you’re pitching at – the hiring manager needs to know what his benefit will be.
Learn to apply the tools that will allow you to think on your feet with answers that present compelling benefits.
Make sure your coach challenges you on benefits, or get in touch with me to test your benefit statements.
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