Be A Politician At Interviews


Ever watch a politician answer a question?

A good politician uses a question as a launching point to talk about his agenda. He takes control of an interview. Not a bad tactic and one you may want to consider during a job interview. 

You shouldn’t dodge questions and you should never lie during an interview. You should however listen carefully and take every opportunity to talk about your accomplishments and the value you bring to the company. Here’s an example from an interview I conducted:

Q – Tell us about yourself.
A – I like to share information. After I found a short cut for creating fonts in Illustrator, I shared it with colleagues via Twitter and my blog. (The candidate knows how to use social media effectively, and is confident enough to share information with the team).

Don’t answer the “Tell us about yourself” question by listing the same accomplishments you included on your resume. Frankly, the interviewer doesn’t care about you. She wants to know if you fit in to the company’s culture. What can you do for her?

Q – What did you love/hate about your last job?
A – I’m a catalyst. I get excited about the projects I’m assigned to and I think it’s a team member’s responsibility to be a cheerleader sometimes. I can work independently when necessary – like when I developed the first draft of the CEO’s PowerPoint presentation – but I’m especially energized when the team completes a deal.

Notice that the candidate put a positive spin on what she didn’t like (working alone) and took the opportunity to reiterate her ability to work with a team, see a project through to completion, and share the credit.

In both examples the candidate didn’t actually answer the question that was asked. She took control of the interview and used every opportunity to sell her value as someone who fits the culture. She was energetic. She was passionate. She was intelligent.

And she was offered the position.

– m

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