Word Of the Week #561: Advantage

May 7, 2015 by  

Advantage: superior or more favorable position or power.

Let’s assume you’ve got an awesome resume. Now you’ve got the interview. How do you convince the person on the other side of the table to hire you? How do you win the interview? You use the fact that most of us aren’t very good at interviewing to your advantage.

This week’s WOW is a follow up on interviewing from Laszlo Bock’s book Work Rules.He writes “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” was the tagline for a Head & Shoulders shampoo ad campaign in the 1980s. This unfortunately encapsulates how most interviews work. In other words, most of what we think is “interviewing” is actually the pursuit of confirmation bias. Most interviews are a waste of time because 99.4 percent of the time is spent trying to confirm whatever impression the interviewer formed in the first ten seconds. “Tell me about yourself.” “What is your greatest weakness?” “What is your greatest strength?” Worthless.

advantage

But if you’re a job seeker (and who isn’t?), the fact that most of us don’t know how to interview well is a huge opportunity. Because that weakness lets you control the encounter. It lets you win. Here’s Bock’s first three tips on how:

Predict the future. You can anticipate 90% of the interview questions you’re going to get. Three of them are listed above, but it’s an easy list to generate. “Why do you want this job?” “What’s a tough problem you’ve solved?” If you can’t think of any, Google “most common interview questions.” Write down the top 20 questions you think you’ll get.

Plan your attack. For EVERY question, write down your answer. Yes, it’s a pain to actually write something. It’s hard and frustrating. But it makes it stick in your brain. That’s important. You want your answers to be automatic. You don’t want to have to think about your answers during an interview. Why not? Keep reading.

Have a backup plan. Actually, for every question, write down THREE answers. Why three? You need to have a different, equally good answer for every question because the first interviewer might not like your story. You want the next interviewer to hear a different story. That way they can become your advocate.

This week focus on your advantage. Have you ever prepared for an interview by anticipating the questions being asked? Have you ever written your answers out so you were prepared? Have you ever had an interviewer not like one of your answers? How did you recover?

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