One of my clients is an executive who is used to dwelling in the details. His whole job is about numbers and what they say and what that information can lead him to improve. So when he talks about himself, it's natural that he thinks of the details of all of his various jobs. When asked to describe his work, he talks about the individual decisions he has to make each day and the way he works with other departments to make those decisions, and the earnings that various decisions led to.
That's how his mind works, and it's a valuable skill in his line of work. In fact, it's the core of what the companies on his list are looking for.
Still, I find myself asking: Okay. So what do all those decisions mean? What's the big goal? Why did you make the decisions? Where was it all leading? What happened?
Will the interviewer be able to see who he actually is, and not just a spreadsheet of information?
Everyone who applies for his line of work will have the same core skills. He, and they, could walk into that company tomorrow and be equally as proficient at identifying problems and recommending solutions.
The differentiating factor will lie in how the company views him as a whole person. Most companies will hire based on "fit" with the culture. They already know that you can do the job. They are looking for that special something that defines how you behave with others; how your mind works; how you fit into the big picture.
The answer is Story. He has one. We all do. They are all different. That's why I told him it's critical that he decide what it is and how to tell it.
What do I mean by "story?" I mean that we all have core values that govern our decisions, and those values play out at home and at work. They are our motivations for choices we make; for paths we take.
In his case, it's his drive to find reasons why something isn't working, be it a process, or a machine, or a policy - but it's also his respect of others. He solves problems, and he does it by engaging people to help. He doesn't micromanage. He inspires. This information can help him stand out among other detail-oriented leaders who don't take the time to value their people.
He has many stories showing how this has worked in his many leadership positions. I coached him to pick one. When asked to talk about himself, he can use it as an introduction.
I also coached him to find stories that illustrate other aspects of his "super powers" in his industry. He will use those to answer other interview questions, as examples of how he has been able to rise to the occasion, recover from missteps, and other aspects of everyday professional life.
The process was energizing for us both. I learned a lot about why he's so good at his job, and why his way of thinking is so valuable for an organization. He found a different way (a more engaging way) to frame necessary information.
Interviewers like stories. Stories follow trajectories. They contain human details. They are so much less rote (less boring) than what's on a resume. They also showcase a candidate's ability to frame information in various ways.
My client's serious expression lightened. It was good to see. The job search can wear anyone down. He left our session eager to find more ways to talk about his value.
Don't you deserve a new way of looking at your value?
Contact me at 614-746-4587. Let's write your story.