Interviewers tend to hear the same types of lines over and over again, like:
“I’m passionate about my work.”
“I think outside the box.”
“My go-getter personality helps me set and achieve ambitious goals.”
Not only do they stop trusting the veracity of these statements, but they might pass on your application because you sound just like everyone else hoping to get the job.
The solution? Stop using cookie-cutter claims. Instead, prove you’re a good fit and a great employee by giving concrete examples.
Let’s dive into the formula for doing so.
Step One: Hone In On a Skill
The interviewer might ask you a specific question, such as, “How would you describe your working style?” Or perhaps you’re describing your personality or skill set in your resume.
Whatever the case, identify the skill you want to communicate. It might be important to show the hiring manager you’re detail-oriented or can work with little guidance.
Step Two: Come Up With an Example
After you’ve figured out your goal, think about an experience or prior responsibility that demonstrates that skill.
For example, let’s say you caught more typos than anyone else on your team. This clearly exhibits an attention to detail.
Step Three: Connect the Dots
There’s a very specific purpose behind every interview question the hiring manager asks. Figure out if you’re equipped to handle this potential role.
If you simply describe an ability and then use an experience to prove you have it, the interviewer will be forced to draw the link on their own.
However, you can make it far easier for them by explaining how your existing skills will transfer.
Here’s a handy formula:
“As your [job title], I’ll use the [skill] I learned [doing X job, handling Y responsibility] to…”
Start by asking yourself which characteristics or capabilities will be important in the role.
Maybe it’s essential that you’re a stickler for details, because you’ll be working with important documents that’ll go out to the entire organization.
Here’s what you’d say:
“As your senior engineer, I’ll use the eye for details I developed leading a development team to write clear, comprehensible, and accurate specs.”
(Bonus) Step Four: Explain the Importance of the Skill
If you want to really wow your interviewer, describe the significance of the skill to the job you’re interviewing for. This shows you’ve invested a lot of thought into the requirements of the job and how you can be successful.
To continue with the previous example, you could add:
“I know it’s extremely important for you to have high-quality tech specs—after all, your organization has a reputation for moving quickly, and without a solid spec document, the team won’t be able to operate smoothly or create a reasonable schedule.”
This framework will help you answer any job interview question with aplomb. The hiring manager will undoubtedly be impressed by the reflectiveness and thoroughness of your replies.