What's the Point ? Have a Point .
You Did It ! BUT...What Matters is it Was in Budget.
Because of YOU...Team, Budget, Image, Company +ve IMPACT.
As I have often stated, your resume must lead the interviewer.
Assuming you have followed my strong “suggestions” in my other Nuggets about resumes, and that your interviewer is motivated to interact with you, he or she will LIKELY be using your excellent, professional, error-free, crisp, clean, resume as a guide to asking you questions during your job interview. Expect that the interviewer is pressed for demands so had time enough to merely glance at your “Executive Summary” or “Professional Profile” for only a few seconds and then snatched two or three of the most interesting of your “Achievements”. The rest will be on the fly during the interview. It is what you say that will help to carry the interview to a successful conclusion.
What you say will be building images in the mind of the interviewer. How you say it and your body language will contribute to a sense of warmth and comfort for the interviewer. That part is called personal chemistry. Your stories not only convey honest and true events from your past, but also build that sense of trust and personal chemistry with the interviewer.
Expect all kinds of personalities and degrees of preparedness from your interviewer. I once had the Director of a Human Resource department for a large steel company walk into the room while chewing food and grease on his mouth. Another came in smoking a cigar back in the days when people smoked on the job. Learn to go with the flow. You want the job, not to be momma to the interviewer.
Great stories draw the interviewer into the moment of your success. Here, you will find three example stories to give you a flavor of how to cover the essentials outline in Parts 1 and 2 of this 3-part Nugget. Before you dive into the stories, I have a few common-sense caveats about story telling.
- They must be as brief as possible. Mine, below, are longer than they have to be, but only to give you a sense for building the drama in your stories.
- Use enough words to get the point of the story across. But not too many words.
- Be specific. Be concrete. Wherever you can speak to numbers and measurements, do so.
- Repeat positive outcomes without using exactly the same words.
- Be comfortable, aware but relaxed, and somewhat animated when telling your story. Don’t slump. Don’t cross your legs. Don’t act unprofessionally in any way.
[Note: the following stories are longer than they have to be. I wrote them in this manner to emphasize place and problem. When you tell your story, try to stay within the 90-second “elevator speech” rule that I mentioned in previous parts.]
Your resume makes it easy for the interviewer to conduct his or her part of the interview. Now, it’s your turn to do the “heavy lifting”. It’s what I like to call, “story time”…
Interviewer: “Tell me about your project at Company X back in 2014.” Or, he or she may say, “I noticed on your resume you indicated you saved Company X $500,000. How did you do that?” Or, “You saved Company X $500,000…[then silence].”
Your story: “In my department of 5 people, we often had to approve sales sample orders for new projects for our sales reps when they were trying to win orders from potential new major accounts. We had to handle far too many of these requests to fit into our normal work days which already were filled with hundreds of other priorities, none of which our management teams would let us drop or re-prioritize. In short, important sales sample requests became disruptive emergencies across many functions within our company. We were almost constantly fighting “fires” and dragging upper management and even executives into this to help twist arms for emergency expedites from our plants in other countries. It was unintended chaos. Along the way, I kept wondering if there was a better way, an innovation that might be possible. And there was. Over a period of 6 weeks, I spent my personal time, in evenings, developing a process. I then enlisted after-hours volunteer time from several of our company’s programmers. Together we created the new automated program. Basically, it allows the rep to phone in his or her request to a special location or to go online to enter the details, etc. We then involve production planning who now have a restricted list of duties and standing signatures from the top executives to automatically authorize expedited shipping and the costs associated. Where I started to save some time for my colleagues and myself, with the help of some other experts in the company, we created informal teams which assembled and automated a program and a process that now saves our company over $500,000 annually in our country alone. Once we come out of the test phase it is expected to be translated into many languages and deployed across our 200 subsidiaries. No telling how many millions this will save our company in a few years’ time. The reps are delighted since we save them time and have eliminated some very embarrassing situations for them with new customers.
Interviewer: He or she studies a statement on your resume then looks at you sternly. Tell me about your effort to improve the 6-Sigma process with something called the “6S-WoM”.
Your Story: As you know, 6-Sigma is all about numbers and improving company efficiency. On the day I completed my extensive training, almost 6 months to reach “Black Belt”, I received an urgent call from our Vice President instructing me to fly from the corporate training facilities directly to a meeting with 22 executives. My Vice President had decided to turn a process-improvement program into a marketing program and I was to be the guinea pig. His instructions, “Make this work!” In 6-Sigma, small, functional teams help to make it an effective process. Instead, I had to face over 22 demanding executives with different corporate and personal agendas. Yikes! [Brief pause while flash a smile and roll eyes to ceiling for emphasis.] We were locked in a room for up to 10 hours each day. It was me leading these tough executives. I had to draw on all my skills: coaching, fire fighting since egos were operating at peak levels, interviewing, organizing, you name it. I certainly felt the pressure and consistently so for the entire 3 days…and moths afterwards as I implemented the outcomes from this session. By the end of day 3, while exhausted and traveling on the plane on the red-eye flight, I made the decision to myself to improve that improvement process. To 6-Sigma the 6-Sigma program. Despite thousands of Black Belts and Master Black Belts across thousands of companies, no one else had taken on that challenge. I did. I spent It took over 8 months of my evenings and weekends and developed 93 iterations to give birth to this newly improved process. Word got around about the time savings and ease of use. I had demands by our corporate executives to train their Black Belts and then requests from just about every subsidiary around the world. To reduce my training time, so I could do my real job, I created 14 online training modules on my own time, after hours, at a cost of less than $100 to our company. Now, thousands of employees within our company and from around the globe are studying my modules.
Interviewer: “You indicated that you raised $135,000 in the 15-day deadline by canvassing for the Scary Disease Association of Greater New York, [fictitious name for purposes of this example]. How did you do that?”
Your story: I think this is a great accomplishment. The initial objective and request was to try for $15,000 in 15 days. This association does not want to be too pushy, so was asking for donations to a maximum of $25 each. That meant I had to get at least 600 willing donors. Who has a contact list of donating friends that runs 600 long? Not many. Certainly not me. However, not only did I do about 900% of the original objective, but I also received about $85,000 in ongoing annual pledges as a result of my efforts. Neither I nor the Association ever expected such a positive outcome. Shortly after settling into an evening to unwind at home, the phone rang and I was greeted by an anxious voice of the President of the association requesting me to pitch in to help bring the collections this year over the top. The next day, when I was about to start, New York got hit by its first major snow storm and I was snowbound in my home for the following 8 days of the storm. Since I knew others like me were confined to their homes, I made great use of email and the phone to contact people I know who had a vested interest in our cause. Fortunately, those I contacted liked our cause and agreed to my request to contact their own group of friends and do a little arm-twisting of their own on my behalf. When we tallied up all the pledges from friends, who contacted friends, whose friends also contacted more friends, we hit $135,000, or 9 times the original goal. But the better result was the fact that most had voluntarily contributed far in excess of the target of $25 each and had also pledged ongoing annual donations. My efforts, and the help of my friends, has taken the pressure off this association for many years to come.