One of the persistent problems with the job interview process is that candidates tend to exaggerate their achievements in their résumés and in interview discussions. Interviewing is, therefore, one of the toughest managerial-tasks: in the 30-or-45 minutes of a face-to-face interview or a telephone interview, it is very difficult to identify specifics of a candidate’s achievements and place them in a border context. A job candidate can easily distinguish himself or herself by helping the interviewer with this challenge.
Avoid Too Many ‘I-I-I’ Answers
When interviewing, distinguish yourself by clearly demonstrating an understanding of the role of respective contexts in your projects and their successes. Justify your achievements while acknowledging others’ contributions. Use constructs such as “the marketing manager had this great idea. I teamed-up with him, conceptualised the idea and executed the new initiatives in my engineering organisation.”
Too many ‘We-We-We’ Answers are Bad Too
I can think about numerous instances when I have requested interviewees to stop using we-answers and describe achievements specifically in terms of what the candidate did–by using the I-answers.
Balance is Key
Acknowledging the circumstances and clarifying context of successes helps interviewers develop a broader perspective of your achievements and understand your credentials easily. By carefully balancing the I-answers with we-answers, you can
- demonstrate humility and respect for the contributions of team members
- establish the bounds of your contributions and claim credit you deserve for your achievements.