Military Transition Roadmap – Step 4

conquer the interview

Step 4: Conquer the Interview

 Why is it important to Conquer the Interview?

To conquer the interview, you first need to understand what an interview is and its purpose. Knowing the purpose of an interview makes it easier to plan and your only plan in an interview is to give them reasons to say yes to hiring you. You will need to demonstrate reason throughout your interview answers that show you have the capabilities and experience to deliver value to the company.

The interview has 5 parts:

  1. Conversation
  2. Questions
  3. Closing the interview
  4. Next steps
  5. The follow-up

The Conversation

The interview is a conversation between you and the company to determine:

  • If you can perform the requirements of the job
  • Provide value worth compensating you for
  • Possess the potential to do more than the role you applied for
  • Evaluate your behavior/mindset
  • See if you can fit in with the team

Tips on Conquering the Conversation

  • How do you go about driving them to say yes?  – Results.
  • How do you showcase the results you have accomplished from past performances?  – You lead with the bottom line first. Facts, figures, and measurables are what they want to hear from you.

Give the bottom line first and then answer the “why and “how”

  • The “why” and “how” speaks to:
  • How you collaborated
  • Applied critical thinking skills
  • Applied problem-solving skills
  • Executed tasks
  • The lessons you learned

Bottom line results are your objective assets, and the “why” and “how” are your subjective assets.

Evaluating your Behavior and Mindset

Evaluating your behavior/mindset will be questions around your subjective traits and will be asked in the form of hypotheticals. Sometimes these questions can come out of the blue or catch you off guard, take a few seconds to think on the question before you answer.

Make sure that your answers will:

  • Highlight mindset
  • Provide the bottom-line up front
  • Highlight your skills

Questions

Make sure that you have relevant questions to ask that help you define the role you are applying for. The best way to do this is to make sure you have read and reread the job description and research the company ahead of time. It is a good idea to come prepared with 3 to 4 questions that help you define the role but also allow you to further showcase your value and lead them to say yes to hiring you.

Everything you do in an interview has the goal of giving them reasons to say yes to you, even the questions you ask.

Question Pitfalls

During the first interview, it is not the time to ask questions that relate to anything other than performing the job. The first interview is to showcase yourself and why you are the best fit for the job.

Don’t ask about:

  • Pay
  • Time off
  • Benefits

You will have time to discuss these important topics if you are selected for the position later.

Closing The Interview

What is the best way to close the interview? It is very simple and straightforward…express your interest. Leave no doubts in their mind that you want this job.

Next Steps

An important part of the interview and making sure that it ends on a positive note is asking for the next steps, such as:

  • When can you expect to hear back?
  • Who should you email for further instructions?
  • Who should you coordinate with?

Also, make sure to ask for a business card. This further enforces that you want the job and are a forward thinker.

The Follow-Up

After every interview, it is still good practice to send a thank-you note or email for their time and gives you another opportunity to express your desire to become a part of their team.

Why doing the exercise is important?

By practicing common interview questions and questions designed to gauge your past behavior/mindset, you will develop useful techniques to frame your answers to showcase your abilities to perform the job you are applying for.

Remember:

  • These questions are often accompanied by follow-up questions that will cover the “why” and “how” you accomplished a task
  • Talking about yourself in a way that leads people to say yes is not easy, but it will get easier if you take the time to reflect on these common interview questions

This exercise will combine your answers in previous steps. It is imperative that you write your answers to these questions and then practice them. Make sure to also be able to answer follow-up questions of the “why” and “how”.

 

Download the Exercises

Step 4: What You Want To Communicate Worksheet

Step 4: Common Interview Questions Worksheet

Step 4: Common Behavioral Questions Worksheet