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Interview Success: The J.O.B. Interview Method

January 25, 2009

The art of the interview is about managing what’s and how’s of the information you present to the employer. Content, order and delivery all matter. The following J.O.B. framework is a useful tool for interview preparation and delivery.
Before explaining the J.O.B. framework in depth it is helpful to look at the interview from the employer’s perspective. The employer is looking for a candidate with the technical expertise and ability to perform the position’s responsibilities and who has the overall skill set to succeed. Finally, the employer is seeking a candidate who will be a good cultural fit in the organization.
The J.O.B. framework offers candidates the opportunity to deliver the right information at the right time, and that’s what interviewing is all about. J.O.B. framework:
• Job specific skills and experience
• Overall skill set and experience
• Being a good cultural fit
Job specific skills and experience. This is the most important information to share. In an interview it is vital to exhibit the technical, job specific know-how, skills and abilities to perform the specific job for which you are interviewing. For example, if you were interviewing for a sales management position in the pharmaceutical industry you would want to stress your strong sales management background, pharmaceutical experience and degree and proven track record in coaching your team to higher performance. Other examples include specific software programs, six-sigma expertise, re-engineering experience, patent law or tax accounting experience. Focus the interviewer early and often on the idea that you have the specific skills and experience to do the job.
Overall job skills and experience. These are the skills needed to succeed at any job and are a lot more generic. Examples include, hard working, diligence, honesty, persistence, good communication skills or results orientation. These skills can be claimed by anyone, regardless of position, so they are less persuasive, but still important.
Be Compatible. Whereas the 2 previous points speak to your ability to perform the job this speaks to your ability to perform the job at a specific company. Are you a good fit for the department or corporate culture? Are you willing to work the hours and meet the travel requirements? Are your compensation and job growth expectations in line with what the position offers?
The J.O.B. framework provides a helpful approach to interviewing because it lets you understand and convey what is important. When preparing to interview you should split your responses into 2 main categories. First, list all your specific job experiences that relate to the position. Next, order the skills and experiences with the most important first. To find out what is important to the employer, you should review the job description to identify the skills the employer is seeking and present your experience in the same order since the job description states what the employer thinks is important.
Next, list the overall job skills and experience. While these lack the import and weight of the specific skills these should be shared, but are not critical. Try to sprinkle these throughout the interview, but only after you share your job specific skill set. Once again be sure to back your claims up with evidence. For example, if you say you are hard working explain that you regularly work nights and weekends.
Cultural fit is simply observed, but you should remain close to the vest on your cultural and job preferences until you have a sense of what the employer is seeking. So stay general in terms of your preferences and delve into them more deeply after you have received a job offer. For example, if you want to work in a home office, but are not sure if the position is home or office based, state that you are open to where you work as long as you have the tools to succeed.
Prepare for your next interview by using the J.O.B. framework and you will deliver the right information at the right time, and that is what interviewing is all about!