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"Interviewing: It's a Psychological Tennis Match, So Hold Your Serve"


Excerpt from Chapter 9 of Job Search: The Total System™
Published by Total Career Resources

Score Points with Every Answer


An interview is not primarily an exchange of information. It is a contest in which you are a contender — a psychological tennis match. Your resume has captured the company's interest, proving that you have the technical skills and background to do the job. Now, in the interview, the hiring decision will be made. Interviewing is an art form, a performance. Your task is to hold your serve by controlling — very subtly — the direction of the interview. With each answer you either score points or lose points. Preparation is the key to scoring across the board.

Make the Interview a Win-Win

The interaction isn't created to hurt or deceive anyone. This is a classic win-win situation. You want the job offer; and if you get it, both you and the company will profit. You're not there just to play a game — you're there to win the game. The payoff, of course, is that both you and the employer can win at the same game.

Great Answers to Tough Questions

Featured Question

"Tell me about yourself."

Featured Answer

It's in response to this open-ended inquiry that many people talk themselves out of a job offer. But if you structure your answer starting at the bottom of page two of your resume and moving up to the top of page one with a two-minute biographical sketch of who you are, where you've been, and where you're going — you'll succeed.

  • Start with your early history — where you were born, where you grew up. If you served in the armed forces, mention that.
  • Part two is your education. Tell where you went to school and your degree.
  • Part three is professional experience — a brief description of your jobs since leaving school, explaining transitions. Then quickly move to your most recent (or current) position, explaining how your skills, accomplishments, and experience relate to the opening.
  • Finally, part four is a career plan — a brief explanation of why you and this company would be a good match, reflecting facts you learned in your advance research on the firm. In closing, mention what a first-rate company this is and that you are pleased to be interviewed for a position in the firm.

Quite simply, when you follow these four steps, you've transformed a major roadblock into a positive image of yourself in the employer's eyes. And you're another step closer to a job offer.