Job interview must go beyond the credentials

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — These sentences jumped out from Meg Montford's career advice blog:

"Don't think this job interview is about you — even if you are asked questions about you.

"It's about the employer — always."

Montford, a Kansas City-based career coach, tackled the "tell me about yourself" interview question.

Blow that one and you've blown the interview.

Understand this: The job interviewer doesn't want your life history, or even your job history.

Even though the interviewer wants to know what you've done that has prepared you for the job at hand, that's probably not a laundry list of your past jobs.

The interviewer is looking for a measure of your skills, your interests, your enthusiasm, your adaptability and your communication style.

You may be perfect for the job, but you must convey that quickly and concisely and in a way that the interviewer thinks, "Hmm. I'd like to know more about you."

On a recent radio show in this area, the topic was the job market for this year's college graduates. A recruiter called to tell what he looks for in interviewing job candidates.

Chief among them, he said, he follows the DYLT rule: Do you like them?

Even when interviewers ask you to talk about yourself, they're looking for the value you can add to the organization. There probably are multiple candidates who can meet their needs.

So the differentiation is whether you've conveyed a competent and likable image. As the recruiter noted, people like to do business with people they like.

Montford noted: "You wouldn't be interviewing if you weren't qualified for the job, per your resume. The job interview is a process to screen out qualified candidates."

Your resume, which won you the interview, lists your job progression.

The interview is your chance to burnish the facts with some fun — a glimpse into the competent but pleasant person that the interviewer would want to bring on board.

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