Find Your Inner Voice in a Job Interview, with Caroline Dowd-Higgins

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Transcript

Mac Prichard:

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host and publisher of Mac’s List. I’m joined by my co-hosts Ben Forstag, our managing director and Jenna Forstrom, our community manager.

  This week, we’re talking about how to find your voice in a job interview. Our show is brought to you by “Hack the Hidden Job Market,” the new online course now available from Mac’s List. As many as 8 out of 10 job openings never get advertised, is your dream job one of them? Learn how to uncover hidden jobs and get noticed by the hiring managers who’d fill them. Get started at macslist.org/course.

  Do you have a job interview coming up? Congratulations, the time and effort you’ve put into your search is paying off. Your next step is to prepare for the interview. You need a plan for what you will do and say in the meeting. Our guest expert this week is Caroline Dowd-Higgins. She says the way to stand out in a job interview is to find your own voice. Later in the show, Caroline offers her advice on how you can present yourself in compelling and unique ways.

  Many interviewers now use behavioral questions. In a moment, Ben Forstag will explain why this is so and share a list of 75 common behavioral interview questions. How can you persuade your employer to pay for your continuing education? That’s our question this week. It comes from listener Catherine Moore. Jenna Forstrom has her advice, but first, as always, let’s check in with the Mac’s List team. Jenna, Ben, I’m curious. How have you two prepared for interviews in the past in a way that has made you stand out and look unique?

Ben Forstag:

I’ve got some boring, probably pretty mundane suggestions that I’ve done in the past. One is just super prepare with research. I always like to have 2 or 3 pages of written notes down that I can pull from and I’m not afraid to actually pull out the notepad, flip through notes while I’m talking to the interviewer. The other thing is I’d like to wear something that’s professional looking obviously, but also that stands out a little bit. Instead of wearing the dark suit dark tie, I’ll wear a brighter tie or if I can get away with a pink shirt or something like that.

Mac Prichard:

I think those are good tips, Ben.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah. I think with the clothing thing, it’s obviously a pretty small thing. You’re never going to get a job based on your clothing, but it helps you stand out a little bit visually, and I think if you can pull off a bow tie or a pink shirt or something like that, it helps you get remembered.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. I think the key is to choose clothing that makes you feel comfortable so you can do your best. Jenna, tell us about your experiences.

Jenna Forstrom:

I always research who I’m meeting with on LinkedIn to see if we have any shared connections, so when you’re meeting with them and you’re talking to them you can casually mention, “I saw on LinkedIn, Mac. How did you guys meet?” That gives the opportunity to learn a little bit more about them, if it’s a personal connection or a professional connection. It shows that you’ve done your research, but that also you’ve got, it builds more trust, I’ve learned.

Mac Prichard:

I like that idea, Jenna. There’s a theme here. Both you and Ben are talking about the importance, not only of doing your research and your homework, but showing in the conversation that you’ve done it and sharing what you’ve learned. My tip is along the same lines. I remember when I interviewed for a job, it was 25 years ago. I did research online about the employer I was meeting with. At that time, there was no internet. You actually had to pay a fair amount of money to get articles that existed online. This was a cross-country job search, and I spent several hundred bucks pulling articles about this employer and I brought that stack of articles into the meeting. The person’s eyes just lit up because they couldn’t believe that one, I’d done it, and then we had a great conversation about the issues that were identified in those stories. I was interviewing for a communications job.

  Not only do the homework, but show your work I think is the theme I’m hearing here. A lot of people don’t do that. Well, good. Well, let’s turn to you Ben, speaking of research. You’re out there every week, poking around the nooks and crannies on the internet looking for tools and books and websites and other things that our listeners can use in their job search and career. What have you uncovered this week?

Ben Forstag:

This week, I want to share a blog post I found on the Recruit Loop blog. That’s Recruitloop.com. It’s called “75 Behavioral Interview Questions to Select the Best Candidate.” For those of you who aren’t aware of what behavioral interview questions are, these are hypothetical and experience-based questions that draw on your past work experience or your past volunteer experience or just in general your past experience.

  What the interviewer is trying to do here is they’re trying to figure out how you’ll react in the future based on what you’ve done in the past. I think most of us have heard these at some point in time. We might not have known they were called behavioral interview questions, but they’re the kind of questions that start with “Can you tell me about a time that …”

  This is a blog post with 75 of the most common behavioral interview questions and I pulled out 3 that I thought were particularly good. The first one is “Tell me about a situation in which you’ve had to adjust to changes over which you had no control and how did you handle it?” That’s good, right? Because sometimes we get so caught up in thinking we’re the drivers of what we’re doing in our careers and oftentimes we’re not, and being able to manage around that.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. There’s so much that we don’t control.

Ben Forstag:

Exactly. Two, “Give me an example of a time you discovered an error that had been overlooked by a colleague. What did you do? What was the outcome?”

Mac Prichard:

I like this one because it gives you an opportunity to show how you would respond to people making a mistake. I think how you handle that speaks volumes about not only your character, but how you work with others in the workplace.

Ben Forstag:

Absolutely. This is one of these things that always happens. You’re always going to work with people and people are humans and they make errors and mistakes and things, and how you help them with that and adjust and overcome and fix things, that’s huge. The third one I thought that was really good is “When have you ever gone out on a limb to defend a customer? What happened?” I just really love that question because it’s so customer service oriented, which is great. The reason I like this particular list, and there’s a lot of lists of questions out on the internet if you type in behavioral interview questions, you’ll get like 10,000 hits.

  I like this one because this blog is actually for recruiters. These are the questions that recruiters are telling each other that they should be asking, which is a good indicator that they might show up on some future interview you’re sitting in on. This whole idea of know thy enemy, not that the employer’s your enemy, but I think it’s a good idea to figure out the kind of questions that recruiters are thinking about and challenging each other to ask.

Mac Prichard:

It’s like getting an advance copy of the final exam.

Ben Forstag:

Kind of, yes, where there’s 10,000 questions and they’re only going to ask 5. It’s a little bit of challenge, but if you could go through these and come up in your head just with some short answers for the 75 questions you’re going to be set. Mostly the process of answering these things, there’s a method, which we’ll talk about in a future episode, I think. They call it the star method, and you can google that if you can’t wait. You get into a routine of how they answer these, and they get easier and easier the more you practice. Before I wrap up, I just want to ask Mac and Jenna, do you have any favorite behavioral interview questions you’ve either had in an interview or just have heard of elsewhere?

Jenna Forstrom:

Yeah. I, along with the Mac’s List team have been working on “Hack the Hidden Job Market” course, and one of my assignments is I am coming up with 100 informational interview questions, which is going to be a bonus download for anyone who signs up for the course. One of the questions I really liked while I was doing all this research of thousands of lists, that’s an exaggeration, like a dozen lists, of interview questions was, “Tell us about a time you didn’t agree with your boss’s decision and how did you handle that?” I thought that was really interesting.

Ben Forstag:

We’ve never had that situation in our office.

Jenna Forstrom:

Never.

Mac Prichard:

That sounds like 9 am, 10 am, 11am. It’s only 1:30 when we’re recording this.

Jenna Forstrom:

We just arm wrestle, right?

Mac Prichard:

Right, yeah. Best 2 out of 3 decides the question.

Ben Forstag:

Any from you, Mac?

Mac Prichard:

For me, I like to think about actual problems I have in the workplace when I’m talking to a candidate and share those with people and ask them how they confront it or dealt with issues like that in the past. I like that for two reasons. One, it gives people an opportunity to talk about their experience and their approach, and two, it gives me a glimpse into how they might approach that problem if we do have the opportunity to work together.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah. I love that, because I think sometimes in interviews, people can get way too hypothetical with situations and they might be realistic in some sense but they’re not grounded in any actual experience in the office right then. I don’t think the employer is getting what they’re looking for at the end of the day and the candidate is, they don’t have any context to answer that question. Saying like here in this organization, here’s one of our challenges. How have you approached this challenge in the past is great.

Mac Prichard:

Thank you, Ben. If you have a suggestion for Ben, please write him and we may share your idea on the show. Ben’s address is easy to remember, it’s ben@macslist.org. Now let’s turn to you, our listeners. Jenna Forstrom, our community manager is here and she joins us to answer one of your questions. Jenna, what do you have in the Mac’s List mailbag this week?

Jenna Forstrom:

Today’s question comes from Catherine Moore and she asked …

Catherine:

Hi. My name is Catherine. I was just calling because I’m in a specialist health field and I was wondering what employer to pay for my continuing education is, so that I can stay up and current on my first patient? Thanks.

Jenna Forstrom:

Hey, Catherine. Thank you so much for calling in and asking your question. I think this is a great question because I think in some career fields like healthcare and teachers and education, you have to continue your ed to stay certified. If your employer hasn’t offered to pay for, I think reaching out and sending an email to HR or your manager and say, “Hey, my certs are coming up. I found a course online. I think it’s really focused on what we’re doing, what is the reimbursement process?” Just trigger the conversation because I think for most companies that it hire people with specialized fields where it’s required to continue, they’ll pay for it.

  Now the flip side is I come from marketing, so there is no continuing ed but I think inviting your manager in and say, “Hey, I really want to learn about this. I’ve been noticing it’s taking up a lot more of my time and I think if I took an online course or took a class that I’ve read in this research, it will be really beneficial not only to me, but our team and our productivity and just inviting them into the conversation and seeing what opportunities are out there.” I did something like this when I was at Standard Insurance. I really wanted to go to South By Southwest interactive because we’re building an online platform and Standard is a very conservative company and South by Southwest is known for music and fun stuff. They were really apprehensive.

  The deal I worked out with them was I was going to go, paid my way but I wasn’t going to take any vacation time or sick time. I was working remotely to learn and then, I sent this huge recap to the entire team of everything I learned and how it applied to what we were doing and the next year, Standard funded me to go which was pretty awesome. Just being flexible and working with your management team. Mac and Ben, do you guys have any tips?

Ben Forstag:

I think the key is just always try to tie it back into what would be good for the organization as well and so, if you’re in marketing and you need to polish up your Photoshop skills for example, there’s a clear tie-in there where you being a better Photoshop artist is going to help you do your job as a marketer and the organizational benefit that way. It’s a little bit tougher when you’re looking to get some training at something that’s outside of your professional skill set, your existing professional skill set. If you’re a marketer but you want to go to nursing school, you’re probably not going to get your employer to pay for nursing school there because it’s outside of their professional needs.

Jenna Forstrom:

Maybe a CPR class.

Ben Forstag:

Maybe a CPR class.

Mac Prichard:

Well, I think you both nailed it here. It’s I think you can make a compelling case when you can talk about … Show the benefits to the employer and to the the work team of attending a class or conference or whatever the educational opportunity might be and when employers see those benefits, and you can demonstrate that it’s good for the bottom line and it’s good for your teammates if you’re going to save time and money in the long run by learning these skills are having these opportunities. I think that’s the most persuasive case of all. Well, thank you Jenna and thank you, Ben and Catherine. If you have a question for Jenna, she would love to hear from you. Her email address is jenna@macslist.org or call our listener line, that number is area code 716-JOBTALK. Again, that’s 716-562-8255.

  If we use your question on the show, you’ll receive a free copy of our new book, “Land Your Dream Job Anywhere,” that we’re publishing on February 1st, 2017. Now, these segments with Jenna and Ben are sponsored by “Hack The Hidden Job Market,” the new online course from Mac’s List. As many as 80% of all jobs never get posted, instead employers fill these openings by word-of-mouth. Our new course shows you how this hidden job market works. We teach you how to find plum gigs that never appear on a job board. How to stand out online in a crowd of applicants and how to connect with insiders who can help your career?

  Each of the course has 12 modules, you’ll get the tools and tips you need to get the work you want, meaningful work, work that makes a difference, work that you can love. Now, let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Caroline Dowd-Higgins. Caroline Dowd-Higgins is the executive director of Career in Professional Development for the Indiana University Alumni Association. She’s the author of the book, “This is Not the Career I Ordered,” and Caroline also host the podcast, “Your Working Life,” and the online video series, “Thrive!” She’s a regular contributor to the Huffington Post Elevate Women’s Network that rouse in the Chronicle Newspaper. Caroline joins us today from Bloomington, Indiana. Caroline, thanks for coming on the show.

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

Thank you, Mac. I’m delighted to be with you.

Mac Prichard:

Well, it’s a pleasure to have you. Now this week, Caroline, as you know, we’re talking about how to find your own voice in a job interview. Tell us, Caroline, why is this important? How can this make a difference, not only in a job interview but interview in getting an offer?

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

Well, I’ll tell you. There are so many qualified and highly credentialed candidates out there and the first phase, it’s a very labeled playing field. Everyone is submitting materials, be it resumes, cover letters, portfolios, whatever backup information you can have to endorse your candidacy. When you get to the stage of having an interview whether it’s in person or by phone, you’re really talking about culture fit and how you can solve the problems of the organization. It’s literally the first time they can hear your human voice and it is an impactful introduction into why you could be a great fit for that organization.

Mac Prichard:

Knowing how important it is, what are some of your tips, Caroline, about what people should say in these conversations and how they should prepare?

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

Preparation is the most important thing, and I’m so glad you mentioned that because it’s a step that is often skipped. I worked with a lot of clients who have been in the job market for years, quite often decades and they find themselves downsized because of a merger or an acquisition and all of a sudden, they’ve got to go back to the basics of interviewing. Quite often, they will skip that step of research. No matter where you are in your career journey, research is imperative. For example, take that job description and I often printed out and pull up my highlighters and underline the specific things in the job description that relate to my strengths and my competency is and the types of tasks the organization is looking for. I can address those with stories and examples and compelling illustrations of why I believe that I would be a good fit. You want to use the psychology of the job description to help them understand why you’d be a great fit. The roadmap is therefore, you use it and that road map is the job description.

Mac Prichard:

A lot of people I think walk into your rooms, Caroline and they come prepared to answer questions but they don’t do that preparation. You’ve talked about the importance of the psychology of the job description. I’ve also seen some blog post you’ve written about the importance of talking about the return on investment a candidate can offer a company. Tell us more about that.

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

Yes. It’s really all about solving their problems. Companies hire people to fill a need. They have a set of job responsibilities, of tasks and quite often, they correspond with challenges or particular functions in the organization. You’ll need to come to that interview prepared with examples that are relatable to what you will be doing. If you don’t have that experience yet, that’s okay but you need to be able to highlight and focus on transferable skills that show your potential. I can’t stress enough the importance of storytelling. There’s nothing worse than that wrote answer that just feels like it’s the stock answer that you could use for any interview. You really want to have a conversation and tell stories, so it feels natural and authentic because another part of the interview that’s imperative is the culture fit. Are you the right person for this organization? Are you the right fit for our team?

Mac Prichard:

What do you see people do in interviews that demonstrates that it’s a good cultural fit that the chemistry is right? What can people do, not only prepare for that but to demonstrate it in the interview?

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

Well, I think that there is a fear often on the part of the candidate that they can’t reach out to learn more about the job once that interview is scheduled and I couldn’t disagree more. It’s perfectly fine for you to conduct some informational interviews. You can’t go into details about the job description. It can’t be a formal job interview but you can query some of the people that work on the team or even some tangential member is in the department or the company at large, to get a sense for what the organization is all about.

  There’s some great websites out there like Glassdoor, PayScale.com that have reviews from current and former employers. Do your due diligence, find out what the scoop is on the street for people who may have worked in that organization, so you go in with your eyes open and when you’re asking questions and that’s an important responsibility for the interview candidate, ask about the culture. What keeps you here? What would encourage you to move on? What do you love about your job? What keeps you up at night? Those are really indicative of a culture.

Mac Prichard:

I want to talk more about the importance of asking questions, but let’s pause for a second because I do hear from job seekers who say, “Gosh. I did all the homework. I collected all the facts and information but in the end, I was told the chemistry wasn’t right,” and people who tell me that feel very frustrated because chemistry feels like this invisible thing that you can’t quite grasp. What would you say at job seekers like that who’ve been told, “Well gosh, the chemistry wasn’t there or was better with another candidate.” How can people react to that and how can they learn from that experience so they can prepare for the next interview?

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

I agree. Chemistry is very subjective. You might have felt, “Wow, this is great fit. I’m really bonded. I felt authentic with this perspective group of future colleagues,” but if they didn’t feel the same, the sad reality and the balance of it is it’s their decision, not yours, right? You’re applying for the job, you are the candidate but I think it’s also important to trust that they know what their work life is like. They know the kind of work family that they have created and I use that term a bit tongue and cheek but let’s face it.

  In the career world today, we spend a lot of time with our work family, quite often more time with our colleagues than we do with our actual family. That fit is tremendously important. What I would say to the job seeker and the candidate who was in the interview, be yourself. Certainly you want to be professional and appropriate at all times, but be yourself. If you bring levity and a sense of humor to the table, be authentic with that, be appropriate but show the real you so they can enjoy you for who you are. Because if you go in acting like someone that you’re not, then it will be a negative surprise for both parties once you are in the job saddle.

Mac Prichard:

I think that’s a hard message to hear about chemistry, but I think your advice is spot on, Caroline that when you are yourself, your authentic self in an interview, if it’s not still not a good fit, actually it’s hard to get the bad news in the short run but the long run, it’s probably a good thing.

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

I agree. I would just add to that briefly, Mac that it’s not as if you did something wrong. It’s just that the pair of shoes didn’t fit and you just have to trust that there is a great fit out there for you and you will find it, so you just need to keep being real and being yourself.

Mac Prichard:

Now a moment ago, you talked about the importance of not only coming in with questions but taking control of questions and not being afraid to ask questions on people whether it’s on an interview panel or in a one on one conversation. What would you say, Caroline, to people who feel awkward doing that?

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

Well, I’ll tell you. There are some amazing professionals out there who ask wonderful interview questions of their candidates. Then, there are others who don’t. It doesn’t mean that they’re not terrific professionals but perhaps, they don’t have the training or the wherewithal to know what to ask. I’d say this is a hazard for the candidate and I’d like to use this metaphor, take the wheel and drive the interview car. If at the end of the 45-hour minute interview, you feel like, “Gosh, they just didn’t get it to the core of why I’d be a good fit or they didn’t ask me some juicy questions or I could illustrate my return on investment,” I would take the car and say, “Before we leave, I really want you to know why I believe I would be a good fit,” and then you can share what I call your closing remarks. If you leave feeling like you didn’t make your case, it shouldn’t be because you didn’t try. You really need to have the confidence to be able to interject when those great question are not asked.

Mac Prichard:

Now, you talked about the importance of telling a compelling story or using stories throughout the course of the interview. Share with us, Caroline, some of your best storytelling tips?

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

Yeah. I want to preface this by saying practice. It’s hard to be completely off the cuff and impromptu. There are set of skills or competencies or even work task from the job description that you want to speak to, think in advance, perhaps write them out and then, practice with someone you trust, so you can get in the groove of telling that story. If they ask for extreme time management experience, tell a story about how you are an efficient time manager and how you can prove that by sharing an example. If you need competencies in Excel or advanced software programming that is unique that is unique to the company and you don’t have that specific experience, talk about something relatable that might show your complex ability to handle technology.

  Again, the more specific you can be and it might even be, “I’d like to tell you a story about my advanced Excel experience and why that’s relatable to your CRM software program program in this organization.” Set them up. I often talk about when you tell a story to a young child, perhaps you’re reading to them, their whole posture changes when you lead in with, “I’d like to tell you a story.” You can use that same psychology in an interview.

Mac Prichard:

I like your point about practice. If we have an important presentation at work or we’re speaking at an event, I don’t think any of us would go into that meeting or to that event without practicing and rehearsing our remarks. You don’t want to over prepare for an interview practicing with someone or even better at videotaping it yourself and going back and watching and not thinking, “Will it pay dividends?”

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

I agree, Mac. The body language, the opportunity to watch yourself and really hear yourselves in a critical way so you can improve is so valuable and body language speaks volume, so that is a very important reason to use a video example, if you possibly can when you’re practicing.

Mac Prichard:

We’ve talked about preparation and how you should get ready for the these interviews and what you might say during the course of the interview. Let’s talk, Caroline, about how you say it? Tell us how people should manage their voice in an interview?

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

I believe that volume exudes confidence. Now, I don’t want you to shout at your interview team but if they’re straining to hear you, they will perceive that you are not confident in what you’re sharing. It’s human nature, so you might need to ramp up your volume a little bit. Eye contact is extremely important and also shows your self-confidence. When you are in a group interview and you are one person as the interview candidate and you’re speaking to a panel of people that are interviewing you, really open up your body language so you are speaking to all of them and give them a few seconds of eye contact. That in combination with your vocal confidence speaks volumes about your success in the interview.

Mac Prichard:

What about filler words? I know it’s hard to avoid them but the expressions like ums, and you know? What’s your advice about that?

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

I do a lot of communication coaching. I do a lot of public speaking myself and those are human traps that we all fall into, myself included especially when we get nervous. The number one thing that any interview candidate needs to remember is listen to yourself as well as the people with whom you’re speaking and try to self-audit when you hear yourself to fall to those filler words such as like, um, you know. I’ll take that a step farther, Mac and say we also add some what I will call disqualifiers and those are, “sort of, kind of, pretty much,” and those lessen the intensity of the words that we’re speaking. I get it. We all do it. It’s our default mechanism but anyone in an interview scenario needs to be keenly aware of what’s coming out of their mouth so they can adjust accordingly.

Mac Prichard:

Excellent advice. Well Caroline, thanks so much for joining us today. Now, tell us what’s next for you?

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

Oh my goodness. Well, thank you for asking. I’ve got so many things cooking, Mac. I’ve a book that I know will be coming out in 2017 called, “Drive Where You Are.” I do a lot of work with coaching clients about career reinvention and I have been working with employers lately who have said, “Gosh. We don’t want to lose our top talent.” I am co-authoring this group with an amazing colleague by the name of Dr. Nancy Hutchens and we are on a mission to help people understand that they can actually reinvent in their current organization, so you need not leave your organization to be able to reinvent your career and of course, one of my great passions is public speaking, so it’s such a great joy to be talking all over the world, to audiences who are passionate about career development.

Mac Prichard:

Well, that’s very exciting and we’ll be sure to include links in the show notes to your book and other resources that I know people can find you on the web carolinedowdhiggins.com and that URL will be on the show notes as well. Well Caroline, thanks for joining us today.

Caroline Dowd-Higgins:

It’s been a pleasure, Mac. Thank you.

Mac Prichard:

We’re back in the Mac’s List Studio with Jenna and Ben. Tell me you two, what are some important points you heard Caroline make?

Ben Forstag:

I really like her suggestion that she said, “Take the wheel and drive the car.” If you don’t get the questions that you think really make you shine as the person who’s the right fit for the organization, so I think the employer is not asking you the kind of questions that really let you show your expertise whenever you can pivot and start finding other ways to show why you’re the best candidate for the job. I think that’s really good because I think she’s absolutely right, a lot of employer, they don’t really know the right questions ask or they’ve got a list that they’ve gotten from online or from their HR department or wherever and they’re trying their best but if there’s some other way that you can position yourself, go for it.

Jenna Forstrom:

I really liked her comment about going through the job description and marking up where your strengths lie and I feel like the converse of that will be like, “Be aware of where you’re limiting,” or you’ve got more weaknesses and just always like when you’re going to an interview, these are the three things on the job description that I could crash. I’m an expert on, I know how to deal. When the question of what’s the weakness, you can say like, “I saw on your job description …” I’ll use Mac’s List, they talk about podcasting. I said in my interview, “I’ve never done a podcast,” like I just wound up to it, but I’m super eager to learn and just using that story. The second thing I liked about her talk was how she used stories to help engage like how I just shared a story about Mac’s List. Tadah.

Mac Prichard:

Well done. I think that Caroline would give you a gold star, Jenna and I’m sure she would if she’s listing now. Ben, I like your point about the interview being a conversation and not being afraid to ask questions because I think many people walk into the interview room and they think it’s something to be endured and their job is simply to answer questions and then wait to be picked. You really do need to come in with your own questions, I think Caroline made that point very clear and the benefits to you when you do that. Well, thank you both and thank you for listening to today’s episode of Find Your Dream Job. If you like what you hear, please sign up for our free weekly newsletter. In each issue, we give you the key points about week’s show.

  We also include links to all the resources mentioned and you get a transcript of the full episode. If you subscribe to the newsletter now, we’ll send you our job seeker checklist in one easy-to-use file, we show you all the steps you need to take to find a great job. Get your free newsletter and checklist today, go to macslist.org/podcast. Join us next Wednesday when our special guest will be Rob Walker who’ll explain when it’s time to move on and find a new job. Until next time. Thanks for letting us help you find your dream job.

Here’s a secret about interviews: they aren’t about your skills or abilities. (If you land an interview, the employer already assumes you’ve got the skills for the job.) Instead, interviews are all about fit. As a candidate, you need to show the employer that you understand their needs, and will be a good fit within the existing organizational culture.

To best showcase your fit, you need to present yourself in a compelling way that captures the interviewer’s attention. You don’t just want to rehash your resume; you want to tell a story about why you are the absolute best fit for the job.

This week’s guest, Caroline Dowd-Higgins, is an expert on interviewing. For Caroline, it all comes down to good storytelling technique. Here are her tips:

  • Start with the job description and focus on the attributes the company most needs
  • Write down a compelling story/example from your past that embodies each need.
  • If you don’t have a specific skill, find something that is relatable.
  • Start with “I’d like to tell you a story.”
  • Make your stories natural and authentic.

This Week’s Guest

Caroline Dowd-Higgins is executive director of career and professional development for the Indiana University Alumni Association. She’s the author of  This Is Not the Career I Ordered and has a new book, Thrive! Where You Are, publishing in 2017 . Caroline also hosts the podcast, Your Working Life, and the online video series, Thrive!  She’s a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Ellevate Women’s Network, The Rouse, and The Chronicle newspaper.

Resources from this Episode