This post is not even slightly political. I promise. But it is about an interviewing technique I learned from Donald Trump, who is absolutely impossible to ignore.
At a town hall in Wisconsin on Sunday April 3, a retired military veteran asked Trump who his top military advisors were. He didn’t answer her question, but said “That’s not the question I thought you were going to ask me. I thought you were going to ask about…” Then he proceeded to offer a viewpoint he wanted the crowd to hear, drawing a contrast between veterans and illegal immigrants. He tied his comment back to the veteran, even though it had nothing to do with her question.
Love him or hate him, in that moment Donald Trump provided a tutorial on how to control a job interview. Call it the Town Hall Technique. Political town halls and debates have some similarities to job interviews. In a job interview, you may be asked questions that may not directly highlight your strengths. For presidential candidates and job candidates to stay in their respective races, they have to emphasize their strengths, no matter what questions the interviewers ask.
There are a number of reasons job interviews might not go well. The hiring manager may not be a skilled interviewer. The interview questions may be constrained as a matter of HR policy. The interview may focus more on experience, when your strengths involve more skill than experience. You want to be sure you’re telling your best story.
So how do you take control of an interview without being viewed as too controlling? Here’s a sure-fire formula for great job interviews. In advance, think of six specific successes you’ve enjoyed at work or school. The times you solved a problem, improved a process, grew revenue, controlled costs, beat a deadline, whatever you do best in your work. Practice telling these stories until they feel natural. Then, when you go into an interview, tell those stories. Typically, all your stories will relate to a question, but if not, use the Town Hall Technique. Use one question as a bridge to the other. “It sounds like you’re interested in someone who can hit the ground running. Here’s an example of how I got up to speed fast…”
With the great companies that are participating in our career event with Career Connectors – Get Hired by the BEST – you can be comfortable that these companies have skilled interviewers who want to make genuine connections with great people. They still want to hear your success stories, though, so be sure to prepare them. Maybe you’ll be a candidate who is impossible to ignore, for all the right reasons!
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About the Author
Lee Vikre – Hiring Jedi
A workplace culture maven, writer, and speaker, Lee Vikre has helped numerous companies develop “best company” cultures, gaining recognition at the local and national level. Lee has been called the Jedi Master of hiring because of her exceptional recruiting abilities and friendships with people who love Star Wars. Her favorite activities involve matching people with their dream jobs at award-winning best companies. Lee coaches CEOs but still hasn’t been able to train her three dogs not to bark during conference calls.