Thursday, October 15, 2009

The 4 P’s of a Successful Interview (Part 1 of 4)

You found the job lead, you secured an interview; you do not want to blow it now. It is important to thoroughly understand the interview process to be successful.

According to the Crossroads Career Services ™ program, there are 6 steps (copyrighted by Crossroads Career Services) to the job search that build upon each other. Since Interview is Step 5, let us be sure we have completed the first 4 foundational steps.

Step 1- Attitude. You completed the first step if you have allowed yourself to go through the stages of grieving (anger, depression, among others) to the stage of accepting the loss. You need to have reached the point of looking for the opportunity that is ahead. If you do not address attitude, it will come out at the most inopportune times such as in the midst of an interview. You cannot fake a good attitude. A bad attitude will show in your body language, your word choice, or in the energy you need for the job search. If you are still struggling with your attitude, do not go on the interview.

Step 2 – Aptitude. You can’t sell a product (for instance a laptop computer) unless you know how it works and what makes it better than the competition’s. The same goes for selling your skills and abilities. You can check off the second step if you solicited feedback from your friends, family, and former co-workers and identified and documented your skills, abilities, values, interests, and prior accomplishments in STAR format. You must be able to articulate your skills and prior accomplishments and how a company will solve the problem they have by hiring you.

Step 3 – Altitude. Step 3 is considered complete if you identified target companies that are a fit for you. Go back to the analogy of selling a laptop. You would not want to sell a laptop at the neighborhood drug store for a couple of reasons. First, most people do not consider the neighborhood drug store as a main source for laptops. Second, if you saw a laptop for sale in the neighborhood drug store, you would probably consider it lower quality purely based on where it is being sold. You, as a job seeker, want to identify your right place: who is hiring and where you would like to work.

The first three steps are like the legs of a three-legged stool. If the stool is missing a leg, it does not function well and is not worth much. In the same way, if you have not completed the first three steps, do not go any further. Without addressing these steps you will be sabotaging your own job search efforts.

Step 4 – Search. Before you began step 4, you should have created all of your marketing material of which the resume is only 1 piece. Since the on-line job boards list only 15% of the available jobs and less than 15% of people find a job using the job boards, you spent at least 75% of your time networking to find the leads to your target market. This step continues until you land your job.

Once you complete these first steps and you secure an interview (Step 5 – Sort), you want to understand the 4 P’s of a successful interview. We will discuss each one in detail. The 4 P’s are as follows:





Part 1 of this article will cover the first P: Purpose.

There are actually two different purposes for an interview. There is the employer’s purpose for the interview and there is your purpose for the interview.

The First Purpose – The Employer’s

The employer’s purpose for the interview is to sort out candidates through a series of questions and tests to identify the best candidate based on her skills and experience who will also be the best fit for the team and the company.

The Second Purpose – Yours

Your purpose for the interview is more complex.
You want to use this time to build rapport with the interviewers so that you stand out from your competition in their minds, leaving them with the distinct impression that they want to work with you and need you for their business.

From the interview process you want to affirm the problem the company is looking to solve by hiring the person they seek. With the current economic climate, companies are not hiring people without having a driving reason to do so. You need to find out that driving reason, the pain point they have and are trying to solve.

You need to understand what they believe makes a successful candidate. What traits do they value? What experience are they seeking? What abilities will make the candidate the right fit? What prior accomplishments will convince them you are can do the job?

You in turn want to share your previous accomplishments that support why the company will benefit by hiring you. Remember the inventory of accomplishments you inventories during Step 2? You want to use your STARs of prior performance as an indication of future performance.

You also want to understand the hiring process and the next steps.
Understanding the two different purposes for the interview, the employer’s and yours, you will be able to focus on the other P’s.

In Part 2, we’ll discuss the preparation required for an interview.

For more information on many of the topics mentioned in this article, read the previously published RightChanges articles at


How to Stay Positive in a Job Search (4/15/09)

There is No Shame in Being Unemployed (10/7/09)

The Truth You Need to Know But May Not Want to Hear (7/29/09)

Truths About the New Job Market (9/22/09)


You Have to Know You to Sell You (4/29/09)

The Power of Your STAR Statements (6/1/09)

Mandatory Requirements are NOT Always Mandatory (5/27/09)


Helpful, Miscellaneous Job Seeker Tips (9/30/09)

What May be Keeping You Unemployed (8/18/09)

Marketing Materials

The Most Powerful Cover Letter (5/21/09)

The Underutilized Job Search Tool: The Informational Interview Parts 1 & 2 (6/8/09 & 6/18/09)

Resume Tune Up (7/14/09)

An Extra Tip Regarding the T Cover Letter (7/26/09)

What Document is as Valuable to a Job Seeker as a Great Resume? (8/11/09)

Another Item in a Successful Job Seeker’s Marketing Materials (8/26/09)


Metro ATL area: As Powerful as the Book of Lists (7/6/09)

How to Network if You are Not Good at It (9/10/09)

When You Can’t Find Something – You Change Your Perspective: Try it With Your Job Search Too (9/16/09)

Job Seekers Should Take a Lesson from Successful Businesses (5/13/09)

1 comment:

  1. So many Thanks. I'm waiting for the second part.