Interview Strategies: How to Communicate Past Successes

TSP • @myTSPnet


When a recruiter or hiring manager interviews you, the only question they are interested in answering is: Will this candidate make our team better? The company clearly saw value in your cover letter, resume and portfolio, but the interview is your opportunity to prove your worth. To do so, you must communicate your accomplishments in a convincing but not arrogant way — which is an art form. Keep reading to discover how to communicate your past successes that will get you the job.

Communicating your successes can be simple if you just answer the question that you're asked. Don't complicate your answers with qualifying statements. If an interviewer asks you to share one example of past success, give them one concrete example, like a big win or problem you solved. Don't buy time by asking clarifying questions like, “How do you define success?” This could affect the interviewer’s trust in your ability to get the job done.

When you communicate the answer to the interviewer’s question, keep it brief. Don't bore them with a long, nuanced story. Illustrate your success by briefly explaining the problem and painting a clear picture of the solution or end result. Clearly and truthfully state what your role was in the process, whether that be identifying the problem or carrying out the solution.

Remember who your audience is and tailor your answers accordingly. Hiring managers and recruiters are often unversed in the nuances of a position, so keep your answers relevant. Before the interview, do as much research as you can on the person interviewing you. Find out about his or her past experience and interests. This information will allow you to adjust your answers and communicate them in a way that not only makes sense but is also interesting.

Try to reflect the interviewer's language and make connections between your experiences. But, be careful not to show how much you know. When you connect with him or her, communicating your successes will seem more like a story among friends and less like a boast.

Review the job description and posting at length before your interview. When communicating your successes, do your best to address the problem you think the company is trying to solve. Create a clear bridge between your past successes and the company’s future. Describe how your unique skill set will benefit the company and team. Ask yourself what unique skill or experience your past success illustrates, and then describe just that.

If you led a team in the past, how will that benefit this company? If you know the company has plans to open another office, could you introduce a new process that would alleviate the transition? These are all important items to ideate before your interview so that you're fully prepared to communicate your worth.

As uncomfortable as job interviews can be, they're just an opportunity to further demonstrate your abilities. Put simply, a job interview is an opportunity for a potential employer to learn more about you and your aptitude for the job. Because of this, it's critical for you to truthfully communicate your past experiences. Lying or stretching the truth will only hurt you in the long run.

If an employer asks clarifying questions, make a point to keep your answers truthful. This isn't your opportunity to stretch your capabilities. When asked about your familiarity or skill with particular tools, be honest. A job that you're unqualified for isn't a job you want. Imagine the stress of stretching your abilities and not only have to learn new processes at your new position, but also having to secretly train yourself on tools — it's a recipe for disaster.

With these strategies in mind, remember that communicating your past successes doesn't mean that you're boastful or arrogant. With the proper execution, communicating these can convince the hiring manager or recruiter that you're the candidate for the job. Remember that they actually want to see your personality and quirks. No one wants to work with a robotic person, so have some fun in your interviews — you might just make a friend.