EP 1221 I discuss an article written by Rick Gillis the author of “Promote” that offers a formula for answering interview questions.

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This one is about interviewing. Interviewing is one of those areas where we, reveal how we been acculturated, conditioned, put into a box, dammit, throughout our lives.

One of the things I keep pointing to is how the school systems teach us to behave. You know, sit at a desk, shut up, regurgitate facts, be obedient, do what the teacher tells you to do or else you won't get into a good college. Then, from there, we get into a good college, we have to do the same thing all over again except they call it thinking but most of the time is really very little thinking that's involved. So, we wind up being in a situation where we’re told to behave and regurgitate facts or think in order to get “a good job.” Then, we get to that “good job” and, lo and behold, we hate it. It’s a bad game we’re playing there.

So, we get to interviews to change jobs and we’ve been conditioned to be “modest” and to speak modestly about what we've done. The word “we” shows up in our conversation. Our group. We worked on instead of talking about ourselves because we’ve been told that you're not supposed to Bragg. You're not supposed to boast. You’re just supposed to behave yourself and we fall for its because you been conditioned to fall for it. That’s why.

Instead, my friend Rick Gillis has a book coming out call, “Promote.” He has an article on LinkedIn using that word, promote period you might be able to find on Pulse. It’s a nice idea because what you're able to do is succinctly speak about what you've done and how you went about doing it.

So, the word, “brag” has such a connotation. Just reading the dictionary definition – – “ to use boastful language. To boast. Anything to boast of” is the noun version of it, and you can just hear the connotations associated with it that are so problematic.

Rick just puts it very simply because what he wants to encourage you to do is self-promotion because, it's kind of like, if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it. Did it fall? There is a problem unless people know about your successes. So, he offers up a nice little formula.

I was responsible for (fill in the blank) that resulted in (fill in the blank) and then for you to talk about (and he uses an example of being an ex-radio guy) so he talks about “I was responsible for 49% of all sales for one organization that resulted in $3.2 million net to the bottom line.” Just as an aside, he spells and $3,200,000 because he believes that the more zeros someone reads the more powerful the statement is. So, let's follow his advice. $3,200,000 net the bottom line that year.

So, what he does has a beginning (I was responsible for), a middle the (that resulted in) an ending I (that offers up the results and what the accomplishment was). As a result, that one statement helps give an interviewer a lot of positive information about you for them to explore. Then, of course, you want to be able to back it up in your interview so that that you demonstrate credibility with the statements.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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