Your career brand is multifaceted and the good news is that, once defined, it can be shared with interviewers in many ways. Which is more good news, considering that your interviewers want to grasp the essence of your brand when they speak with you. In fact, all of their interview questions are aimed at clarifying your brand so they can evaluate its match to their needs.
Let’s take a look at seven questions interviewers ask themselves as they get to know you and the best ways for you to clarify Brand You™ in your interview responses.
1. What Sets Your Candidacy Apart?
What skills, experience, and credentials to you possess which make you a stronger candidate than the others who have applied? As interviewers slog through dozens of resumes and meet with candidate after candidate, they need to know what makes you different. They also need you to tell them this rather than expect them to figure out.
TIP: Summarize your strongest skills, experience, and credentials early in the interview, perhaps as a reply to the ubiquitous “tell me about yourself” question. Try this deceivingly simple but highly effective way to package your brand in reply to this question.
2. What Measurable Impact Have You Had To Date?
What specific measurable results have you achieved throughout your career that positively impacted your employers’ top- or bottom-lines? Define your revenue, sales, market share, profitability, cost reduction, productivity, and/or efficiency impacts in numerical terms.
TIP: Craft 5-8 CAR (challenge/action/results) statements that demonstrate the challenges you’ve faced with other firms, the actions you took to overcome them, and the measurable difference you made. Each CAR should address one or more of the key impacts employers are looking for; these are outlined in the job description and the job posting.
3. What Kind Of Communicator Are You?
Practically every candidate claims to have excellent communications skills. You need to show your interviewer how good yours are. Don’t forget to emphasize your language proficiency and clarify your communications style.
TIP: An easy way to showcase your communications strengths without sounding like every other candidate is to focus on your values. Identify 2 or 3 interpersonal values that are important to you and be prepared to give examples of how you honor them in your work. If you can encapsulate those values in a metaphor or acronym, that’s even better.
4. What Is Your Leadership Style?
If you’re applying for a leadership role, then you need to be prepared to define what leadership means to you and how your leadership style brings that definition to life.
TIP: Summarize your management and coaching experience to date. What strategies do you leverage to lead and empower teams? What specific results have you achieved to date? If you’ve ever completed personality, leadership, or 360 evaluations, you may find specific phrases, descriptors, or examples you can pull from to share in an interview.
5. How Will You Fit Into Our Team?
This is the bottom-line question for most employers. You may be an expert in your field, but if you don’t fit into the team you won’t be able to achieve much in the job.
TIP: Describe your personality to the interviewer to give your interviewers a picture of what you will be like to work with in their company. Select your adjectives carefully and use CAR stories that reveal your team-building strengths. You might try sharing testimonials from folks who can offer different perspectives on your strengths such as bosses, direct reports, peers, vendors, and clients.
6. How Will Our Workplace Be Different With You On Board?
You’re joining a company, not just a team, so make sure you clarify the larger impact your candidacy can have on the department and other parts of the business.
TIP: Dedicate at least 1-2 of your CAR stories to demonstrate the impact of your brand outside the team you’d like to join. This is the time to emphasize the cross-functionality of your experience and how it helps you to interface effectively with other teams. This is also the time to showcase your client and vendor relations skills. Lastly, make sure you mention ways that you’ve gone above and beyond by taking on extra assignments, innovating solutions beyond the scope of your role, or volunteering for key projects. Remember, though, that it’s the results you achieved by doing so that matter most, not the mere fact that you participated in these things.
7. How You can Help Us Achieve Our Goals?
What problems have you solved for other companies and how can you help their organization solve theirs?
TIP: Here again we’re talking about great CAR stories. It’s critical to hone in on results, of course, but make sure you don’t skip over key “how” elements – this is where proof of your problem-solving skills can be found. Identify the top 3-4 steps you took to solve a fundamental business challenge and brand them in a unique way. Perhaps you always do the same 4 things when you face a similar challenge? Try “packaging” your process.
Ultimately, career branding is about proving the value of your unique skills, experience, credentials, personality, values, and results. The more you can package, describe, and encapsulate your brand in job interviews, the more likely you are to be invited back for more in-depth discussions. Get specific about the results you’ve achieved and how you did so to communicate your brand more effectively with interviewers.
This post was originally published on an earlier date.
About the author
A 15-time, award-winning resume writer, Cheryl Lynch Simpson serves mid-career to senior executives as a credentialed resume writer (ACRW), LinkedIn strategist (COPNS), and Get Clear, Get Found, Get Hired (G3) coach. Like her advice? Check out her website, ExecutiveResumeRescue.com for a complimentary copy of her popular Polish Your Profile LinkedIn presentation, or follow her on Twitter!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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