Beating Out a Preferred Job Applicant

Early on in an interview you have to decide what kind of interviewer you will be going up against.

Going up against? Sound adversarial. Well it is. You are trying to impress them to hire you. They are trying to filter down to the best fit. There are all kinds of interviewers.  Geoff Smart and Randy Street in their book Who, sell their readers on a new epiphany on interviewing using the Topgrader method.

The book is popular and you are likely to run into a company that has adopted this latest bible. You should read the book to fully understand what you are up against.

You will know you are being interviewed by someone with this latest bible, if they run through these questions that the authors tell them to stick to.

  1. What are your career goals?
  2. What are you really good at professionally?
  3. What are you not good at or not interested in doing professionally?
  4. Who were your last 5 bosses, and how will they each rate your performance on a scale of 1 to 10 when we talk to them?

Be prepared with 8 to 12 strengths that match the job description at hand. Most important, have detailed back up for each one.  The interviewer will not accept you rattling off a list of strengths. You will be pelted with follow up questions. Give me an example. What did you contribute? …

Do not position yourself as a generalist.  Who-bee’s are taught that generalists are just that, and you don’t want them on their team.

When you rate yourself never ever rate yourself below 8, 9, or 10. The followers of the Who are taught to screen you out.

Conventional wisdom is to come up with a weakness that you overcame and focus on how you overcame it.  Who-bee’s are going to blow past those and keep digging until you speak about several weaknesses. Find something that isn’t part of the job critical functions. If you don’t like making sales calls and the job is VP of Human Resources use that.  The Who stresses developing people, so stay away from that as a weakness. A weakness can be something about your style. Lets say you get so into a new idea, you start to tune others out until you have digested it. It’s a weakness. Is it an intolerable one? Yes if you don’t tell your co-workers what to expect and how to deal with you when you are in this mode. Yes, if you don’t come out of it and acknowledge input from others. Knowing yourself is important to being a good fit. Yes you might filter yourself out. Then again, you might get the job and fail in short order because you don’t fit. Which is worse? A failure on your resume or a longer gap on your resume. That doesn’t mean make yourself out to be a looser either.

Emphasis that your bosses pulled you along. Who-ers believe that people who were identified by their leader as a winner and mentored along are better candidates.

Preparing for interviews is critical to you landing a new job. Knowing the strategy you will be up against is a line to success. A master chess player has an arsenal of tactics to use once the philosophy of the game is determined.