It’s Not Enough to Know Your Resume, You Need to Prep for Five Interview Techniques

Bob CavotoCEO, 20/20 Foresight
Executive Marketing Blog – June 2017

You know you, right? Let me guess, it’s your favorite topic? If you think that’s enough to get you through your upcoming job interview, think again. Savvy interviewers use a variety of techniques to evaluate job candidates and the smartest applicants do their homework and come prepared to answer a variety of questions in a variety of ways.

Here’s a summary of five popular interview tactics that an experienced career management consultant can teach you so you can be successful in the spotlight:

• The Gateway interview is designed to let companies know what brings you to the interview table, giving you an opportunity to explain why you have left (or want to leave) your most recent role. Your answers should be reasonable and believable. It’s OK if you mildly criticize current or past employers, but you should be able to back it up with a few details. The interviewer will want to know what has motivated you in the past and what makes you tick. Be prepared for a question on your compensation expectations.

• A Personality interview aims to understand who you are and how you relate to other people. A good interviewer will ask you what you have found rewarding in your career, ask you to describe your management style and how you make complex decisions or resolve conflicts. You should also expect questions about who you admire, who you believe has been your best boss and why. Other fair game topics are how much you work and how you organize yourself.

• While somewhat self-explanatory, do not assume the Resume interview will be a simple recital of your facts. The best candidates offer one or two detailed examples to support the bullet points that are on paper – without even being asked to do so. This technique assures your interviewer that you know your stuff, and can think logically and with some degree of complexity. You should be prepared to distinguish between individual successes and things you accomplished as part of a team.

• A Technical interview is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Sure, your interviewer may be impressed with your wit and wisdom, but they need to know if you can do the job. Be ready to discuss your areas of expertise in detail. They’ll be looking to test your technical knowledge on simple – and sometimes complex – issues, like discounted cash flow analysis, buy/sell/hold analysis, cap rates, cap rates in certain cities, or approaches to calculating IRR. Know your market. If they are looking for skills you haven’t used in while, be sure to review before the interview.

• Generally the longest and most complex of the interviews, the Topgrading or business situational interview can last one or two hours. Usually not an initial interview, the goal of this conversation is to find candidates who can perform at the highest levels of an organization by reviewing a person’s career history, examining challenges in depth, discussing goals and the trajectory of your career. The company may describe three or four real problems within the company and with the position, and ask you to suggest approaches and solutions. This technique is usually performed when the candidate pool is down to a few finalists. This technique is very revealing as to who should be the final candidate.

In addition to being prepared to navigate several interview styles, one thing remains the same throughout. The most successful job seekers come prepared with answers that fit the job description they are discussing. If the job calls for attention to detail, think about situations where you accurately managed complex projects. If they need sales management skills, be ready to talk about motivation, processes and increases in productivity. Take the time to think things through in advance, and even do mock interviews with an expert. Anticipation and preparation DO make a difference.

20/20 Foresight Executive Marketing has helped hundreds of job seekers successfully navigate the interview process by providing individual interview preparation and coaching. To learn more about executive marketing and career management services, contact 20/20 Foresight at or call 708-246-2100.

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