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Fascinate your way into a job

| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A woman once told me she was in the middle of a job interview when the man interviewing her fell asleep.

His snoring woke him up. Rude, yes, but it's not surprising.

Listening to people tell you they are “proficient and effective in integrating evidence-based approaches” and that they “implemented cross-collaborative management teams and the leader-development model” is not scintillating stuff. Nor is the fact that they can “support the establishment of new field-based functions and utilize outcomes research data to ensure strategic understanding of product data and support strategic initiatives.”

Every boring word of it might be true. But it won't do much to keep a sleep-deprived interviewer awake. Nor will it brighten the eyes of a potential employer who has one thing on his mind: Help!

Yes, that's pretty much what's going on in an interviewer's head. That person is thinking this: “Our project is in deep trouble. Can you rescue it? Our business is growing faster than we have people to handle it. Can you jump in quickly and take over a new account?”

Talking in bloated rhetoric doesn't help a manager see that you're the one who can save the day.

So how about aiming for a new goal in your next interview: Be the most fascinating person anyone has interviewed all day. You could be so interesting that the interviewer could not help but be tempted to know more about you and eventually be won over.

To accomplish that, let's talk about how to come up with more alluring ways to present yourself that will keep interviewers awake and enticed. I call it my “Why I'm So Fascinating” interview exercise.

In essence, you interview yourself. Here are the kinds of questions to answer:

• What do you do that makes you stand out? Do you come up with revolutionary ideas, products or processes? What are they? How did they revolutionize things?

• What specifically have I done that no one else can lay claim to?

What program did you institute that helped the company in some way? How did you provide support to others, save money or help meet another company goal?

• How would your colleagues, manager and customers describe you? Are you the one who always smooths over bad feelings? Or do you put hours of thought and study into a problem and won't stop until it's solved?

• Why do clients like working with me or why does my staff like having me as their manager?

Next, use your responses to develop killer one-liners that show how you help.

Here's a sentence that got my attention in Fortune describing David Fischer, vice president of business and marketing partnerships at Facebook.

Writer Miguel Helft says Fischer “helped turn a nascent ad business into a $5 billion juggernaut.” Personally, I would say “budding” instead of “nascent” and “movement” or “bandwagon” instead of “juggernaut.”

But what a great snapshot to summarize what makes him so valuable.

And it sure beats this description: “Effective in developing an ad format that allows advertisers to pay to highlight real status updates or other user activities.”

Email andrea@andreakay.com.

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