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Know What to Say on a Job Interview

Spin Yourself at Interviews

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We spin ourselves all the time-to find a date or a mate, to make a good impression on our elders, to join a club or society. Spinning merely involves presenting those aspects of ourselves that are likely to be appealing to others.

But it is not enough to come off this way or that way. You must take control of the message you convey to your interviewer. The clearer your spin, the sharper your appeal.

All you must do then, is figure out how to use your self-knowledge and company knowledge to market yourself.

Skip the tag line, but do formulate a coherent message about yourself. This is the message that you want to reemphasize throughout the interview as you answer a variety of questions.

Brainstorm what you bring to interviews.

Using the information that you gathered from the exercises in Know Yourself before Interviews, make a list of your transferable skills, inherent qualities and personality traits that would be relevant to each job for which you are to interview.

Below is an example for a consultant position.

Experience-Based Skills Transferable Skills Personal Qualities
HTML Coding Project Management Dependable
Vendor Relations Clear Communication Accessible
Client Relations Writing Focused
Product Development Organization Flexible
Quality Assurance Practices Team Leadership Initiative
Web Writing Negotiation Creative
  Problem-solving Fast Learner

Take a careful look at your list to determine which of the skills and qualities seem most relevant to the position you are seeking.

For example, for a consultant position, client relations and quality assurance practices seem most relevant from the Experience-Based Skills category. Each skill from the Transferable Skills category is relevant, but one might choose to emphasize negotiation, problem-solving, project management and writing. Personal qualities required for a consultant position likely include creativity, dependability, initiative and flexibility.

Generate concise anecdotes for interviews.

Once you have created a short list of skills and qualities that you offer, compile a set of stories and facts that illustrate your unique abilities. When doing so, remember a few guidelines:

  • Your goal is to convince the interviewer that you are right for the job.
  • Be specific.
  • Highlight information readily understood as transferable.
  • Accentuate accomplishments.
  • Connect your past experience to the position you seek.
  • Reveal your values.
  • Remember your audience and their values.
  • Keep your presentation under two minutes.

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