Don’t Be “OUTED” In An Interview

A friend CEO recently reminisced about a conversation he had with his executive team. I thought this directly related to so many candidates that I felt compelled to share it with you.

The CEO said to his team, “In order to survive this market without cutting back we must “OUT” our competition. We must, out deliver, out perform, out service, out sell, out market, out price, out satisfy, out prepare and out them with every thing we do. We can’t leave anything to chance. If we don’t, many of our team will be out and ultimately we may be out.”

WOW, pretty powerful stuff. So how does this relate to you – the candidate.

You have to “out” your competition too, or as the CEO said, “You will be out.” In this case, out of the running for the job you not only want, but need.

So how do you “out” your competition? Two words, “Proper Preparation.” This in my opinion is the all time biggest reason candidates fail. The optimum word is “PROPER.” I didn’t say candidates don’t attempt preparation. I believe they do. The problem is that the preparation is so superficial and vague it is worthless. (See blog entry on “Where’s Wes – Not Waldo).

Here are a few tips on how to properly prepare:

  1. Proper preparation is NOT about researching every “trivial pursuit” fact about the company since it started in 1950. Good stuff to know, but when was the last time in an interview you were asked, “Tell me everything you know about the company?” I suggest never. Instead prepare for the questions you will be asked.
  2. Proper preparation is writing out complete and detailed answers to commonly asked questions. In case you missed it, writing out. Just to stress the point, writing out.
  3. Practice, practice, and then more practice. Just like all professional speakers, entertainers, professional sports players, and performers you must practice. They practice so much that it looks easy, unrehearsed, unscripted, succinct, points clearly articulated and engaging. Few candidates are good enough to wing it.
  4. Did I mention writing out the answers to the most commonly asked questions?
  5. List multiple accomplishments for every position. Multiple because an accomplishment for one company may not be an accomplishment in another. Accomplishments MUST include quantifiable results. Forgetting this part would be like forgetting the punch line in a joke.
  6. Video yourself in a mock interview. This will be a real eye opener for many.

If you want to “out” your competition you must be so well prepared and practiced that you stand out. You can’t leave anything to chance.

Final note for all of those now thinking, “I already know all this stuff.” Great, but are you doing it? We all know a lot of things, the problem is doing them. The bigger problem is doing them at such a high level of skill that they look easy.

To help you “out” your competition we provide a wealth of free resources and tools. Our free audio library is full of helpful subjects, the articles are free to download, our Linkedin discussion group expands the wealth of resources to other qualified people, and we constantly post new stuff to help you “out” the competition. Consider bookmarking our candidate FREE Resource page and check back at least weekly.

Our comprehensive job search workbook is FREE to read and implement the preparation tools and templates included. This will ensure you have the right preparation process. With a reader rating 4.25 out of 5 it is certainly worth considering.

If this was helpful please share it with your friends so they also benefit.

We encourage comments and look forward to your thoughts.



About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.

1 Comment

  • By drewh408, July 7, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

    What a great point about the difference between knowing and doing. The last time I was searching for a job I actually got caught not knowing the name of the company’s biggest competitor! Oops! It isn’t that I didn’t know I needed to know that, I just didn’t do it. Sometimes I guess you just have to learn the hard way.
    Thanks for the great posting!
    Drew Hull

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