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Prepare for This One Interview Question

Jeff Haden has published another great article on conducting interviews.* Just in case the person who is interviewing you has read his article, I want to share the question he’s proposed every interviewer should ask.

“What one skill do you possess that will most impact our bottom line?”

When an interviewer asks this question, it’s a guaranteed way to identify several things about you.

  • Have you researched the company well enough to know what “truly drives value for” their company?
  • Do you have a clear picture of what your strengths or weakness might be in meeting that employer’s needs?
  • Do you look beyond the surface to those things that really impact that business financially?
  • Are you the type of person who looks at your job as a “series of boxes to check” or one who looks beyond boxes to the “broad impact” your decisions make upon the business’ success?

Even if you are never asked this question, preparing for it will empower you in every interview. Here’s why.

  • Researching a company carefully and identifying what “truly drives value for” that company prepares you for many other questions you might be asked.
  • Identifying your strengths and weaknesses within the context of that company’s needs also prepares you to answer many questions with insight.
  • Drilling down to find out what really impacts that type of business financially gives you the opportunity to show you really understand a business’ needs.
  • Challenging yourself to move beyond checking off a list of skills to a broader vision is always worthwhile. Employers are attracted to employees who actively seek to expand their skills. They need employees who look out for the company, not just themselves.

Don’t be surprised if the person interviewing you takes you through a seemingly disjointed list of questions. Many interviewers aren’t secure enough to customize their questions. Your interviewer may be the type of person who ticks off a list. You can still excel in that interview if you’ve carefully prepared. You can stand out as one of the best candidates for the job.

You can help your interviewer relax. You can encourage a job-focused “conversational flow.”

You want your interviews to go well. Prepare to make that happen.

* Note all quotes are drawn from the original article by Jeff Haden. Check it out at http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/every-great-interview-starts-with-one-question-wed.html.

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