This newsletter has been created for job seekers, recruiters and hiring managers who want to learn how to conduct an objective performance-based interview. This specific article is designed to help candidates prepare for this type of interview which involves having candidates describe major accomplishments most comparable to the performance needs of the job. Here’s the short course for those who want to understand the background underlying this methodology.


Preparation and Practice Really Matters

As you prepare to stand out in your next job interview, converting the public job description into a performance-based job description is your first crucial step. Just upload the job description into ChatGPT and ask it to make the conversion. This approach, rooted in the Performance-based Hiring methodology, shifts the focus from a list of skills and qualifications to the actual outcomes and achievements expected from the role. It’s an effective strategy for identifying what the employer truly values and tailoring your presentation accordingly. Once you’ve reinterpreted the job description through this lens, you’re ready to craft a personal SWOT analysis—a powerful tool to highlight your strengths, address weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities, and neutralize threats in relation to the job at hand.

Hack: you might want to give the performance-based job description to the hiring manager at the beginning of the interview and ask if it is a good reflection of the real requirements of the job. This step alone will put you on the short list of candidates being considered. It might even get you the interview if you don’t have one yet by sending it out as part of your resume.

Strengths: Showcasing Your Top Accomplishments

Begin by identifying your top 6-8 strengths, focusing on those most relevant to the performance-based job description you’ve prepared. For each strength, prepare an example of an accomplishment that illustrates your proficiency in that area. Whether it’s a project you led to success, a problem you solved, or an innovative idea you implemented, these examples should concretely demonstrate your capabilities. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your stories, ensuring they are both compelling and concise.

Weaknesses: Transforming Limitations into Learning Opportunities

Addressing weaknesses can be challenging, but it’s also a chance to show growth and resilience. Select two weaknesses that you’ve actively worked on converting them into strengths, or at least, significantly mitigated. Describe the steps you took to improve, such as training, mentoring, or practice, and the positive outcomes of these efforts. This demonstrates not only self-awareness but also a commitment to professional development—qualities that are highly valued by employers.

Opportunities: The Role as a Career Catalyst

In this section, articulate how the open job presents a good career move for you. Align the opportunity with your career goals, showing how it offers a path for growth, learning, or expanding your skill set. Use the insights gained from the performance-based job description to discuss specific aspects of the role that excite you and how you envision contributing to the company’s success. This not only shows your enthusiasm for the position but also your strategic thinking about your career trajectory.

Threats: Turning Potential Obstacles into Advantages

Finally, consider any threats that might arise during the hiring process, such as being overqualified, coming from a different industry, or lacking the years of experience specified in the job description. For each, develop a strategy to minimize its impact or turn it into an advantage. For example, if you’re transitioning from a different industry, emphasize the fresh perspectives and diverse skills you bring. If you’re concerned about being overqualified, focus on your interest in the role’s specific challenges and your commitment to contributing long-term. By addressing these potential objections upfront, you demonstrate both self-awareness and a proactive mindset.

Tell 2-Minute Stories

While all of the above prep work is essential, equally important is how you format your answers to questions based on these personal stories. I suggest the SAFW two-minute rule as a means to structure your answers. This stands for Say A Few Words: open with a Statement – Amplify the statement – provide a Few examples to prove the statement – Wrap it up with a final statement. This post describes this process in more detail, but the key point is that each answer formatted this way takes about 1-2 minutes. When a candidate’s answers are shorter than one minute the person is considered too quiet and if much longer than two minutes the person is considered too self absorbed. Whether this conclusion is true or not, it doesn’t matter, that’s what happens. More important, a two-minute response using the SAFW format also demonstrates good communication skills and this is just as important as the content of the response.

Conclusion

A personal SWOT analysis is a dynamic tool that not only prepares you for the likely interview questions but also deepens your understanding of how you can fit and excel in the role. By aligning your strengths with the job’s requirements, addressing weaknesses with genuine efforts to improve, seizing the role as an opportunity for growth, and strategically addressing any threats, you position yourself as a thoughtful, self-aware, and adaptable candidate. Remember, the goal is to present yourself not just as a qualified applicant, but as a proactive, reflective, and growth-oriented individual ready to make a meaningful impact in your next role.