The Insider

The Insider's Guide To Job Search

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Interview Handouts: Influencing The Hiring Decision

by Kevin T Buckley, CPC

One of the most effective selling tools you can have to supplement your resume is an interview handout. You can give this at the start of the interview or the end of the interview, either way, it reinforces your knowledge, skills and accomplishments in the interviewer's mind.

Your resume creates a basis for mutual interest. An interview handout helps to seal a decision to hire you.

You can use various titles: Accomplishments Profile, Why You Should Hire Me, Knowledge, Skills and Achievements are some examples.

In the first section you list very specific achievements not found on your resume that reflect the demands of the job that you are interviewing for.

Selected Achievements:

- Retained a major customer we were about to lose through providing after-
  hours service to chase down and resolve their problem
- Created a procedure to prevent this problem recurring in the future
- Trained other staff on this new procedure, earning senior management's

The key is to be specific to show how you used your initiative, creativity, knowledge and dedication to achieve a particular result.

In the next section, in point form, in multiple columns if necessary, you list the documentation, software, applications specific to your industry, product knowledge, industry sector knowledge, geographic or trade lane knowledge, computer systems and other data-oriented points which comprise your knowledge base.

Knowledge & Skills:

- B3s, B6s, B13s, L/Cs, OBLs, HAWBS, NAFTA, COOs, Import Permits
- AS400, Forwarder Logic, Kanban, ITMR4, SAP, Loadlink, Roadmaster
- Far East, Europe, Middle East, USA for Imports
- USA, Mexico, South America, Pacific Rim for Exports

In the third section you summarize why the company should hire you, leaving in the interviewer's mind the idea of a person who has taken the time and the initiative to clearly spell out what they know and what they bring to the organization.

Summarize the skills that you have that are vital to successful execution of the duties of the position. Do not list the duties that you have had. Paint an image in the interviewer's mind and carefully edit and re-edit to zero in on creating buyer interest in the product that you are selling - You.

What I Bring To The Company:

- A proven ability to achieve results; 150% increase in bottom line profitability
  at XYZ Ltd. in 2009
- Leadership: increased productivity 64% in 2009 vs 2008 at ABC Inc.
- Teambuilding: created a customer service centre that increased customer
  satisfaction 26%
- Communications: gained the cooperation of a diverse workforce in multiple

You must be very concise, choosing each word for impact and clarity.

The majority of your competition will not take this step and you will stand out from the rest of the applicants vying for the job. Do not assume that the interviewer has read your resume and understands what you have accomplished. You will discover sometimes that an interviewer will not even have your resume but instead may only have handwritten notes  to work from.

What does the company say about its core values in their website or brochure? Some common ones are Courage, Initiative, Dedication, Integrity, and so on. What experiences or accomplishments can you point to that reflect these core values that they will identify with? Create a section focused on these values and provide evidence of how you live and conduct yourself by them. If they see that you honestly believe in what they believe, you are creating a shared identity and common purpose. These are very appealing and powerful influences in decision-making.

An interview handout focuses the discussion on those areas that you want to concentrate on. It is both a selling tool for you and a context to discuss how your achievements suit the demands and challenges of the position you are applying for. You can customize this for different positions that you apply for, replacing different bullet point sentences as required.

The impression that you leave on the hiring manager who has this handout to reflect upon may well tip the balance in your direction when that person is making up their mind about whom they want to hire.

You have shown initiative, organization, clear thinking and foresight.

These are qualities that every progressive company seek in the people that they hire in a competitive marketplace.

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