Over my 19 years of working within the recruiting industry, I have interviewed or been part of thousands of interviews. I have watched very competent and bright candidates lose opportunities because they weren’t able to articulate their experience or relate with the person interviewing them.
For some, the art of interviewing comes naturally and for others it can be terrifying. Somewhere in the middle lies most. A few years ago, I noticed a pattern of feedback from employers who had interviewed candidates represented by my firm, Transition Staffing Group.
The conversation goes something like this.
Me: Mr./Mrs. Employer, how did the interview go with our candidate?
Employer: We felt she interviewed well but we are not sure if she has the experience needed for our opening.
Me: Were you able to ask specific questions to better understand her skill set?
Employer: No, we didn’t get into specifics in some of those areas.
You see, employers are not always as skilled in the art of interviewing either. Don’t get me wrong, some are better than others and managers and directors who interview more frequently than others often have a higher level of interview skills so they are better at asking the questions to extract the type of information they need. But don’t leave it up to them to help extract the information you hold about your background and experience. It’s your job to articulate your experience and to paint yourself into the job you want.
It was during this time that I realized it was vital to address this interviewing gap to create more effective interviews for our clients and candidates.
This is when we coined SSO. It stands for Scenario, Solution, Outcome.
It’s a strategy that on the surface seems simple but is often overlooked. What employers need are details, specificity surrounding the scenarios you have been exposed to, how you have executed on them the past and how the end result benefited the company.
Try this in your next interview.
When an employer asks, have you ever dealt with a stressful deadline? Avoid the answer I often hear, which sounds like this. “Yes I have, whenever I encounter a stressful deadline, I try to prioritize my calendar and to do list and tackle exactly what is needed to be sure not to miss the deadline and to be sure not be rattled in the process.”
Instead, try this.
Yes I have, may I share a specific example? In my current role I recently encountered a very stressful deadline involving a [insert scenario here]. My solution was [insert solution here]. The outcome was [insert positive outcome here].
You see, you have lots of notable examples to share, but jobs aren’t won using generalities or canned answers.. That new job is won with specifics, details which are needed for them to see you in the position.
If you can keep it simple and remember SSO for almost any question fired your way, you will most certainly find yourself a step closer to the next job you want.
About the Author
Shaun Enders is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Transition Staffing Group located in San Diego. Shaun is extremely passionate about recruiting and developing others to bring out the best version of themselves.