“I have your resume here, Ms. Paddison, but I’d like to hear from you: What makes you the right candidate for this position?”
“I’m glad you asked. As you can see, I have the industry experience, but what’s more, I have experience in taking growing companies like yours to the next level. I’m a team-builder, because I know that to be a strong company you need strong, motivated employees. I’ll use my network to help you establish key connections in the industry and put my experience to work in advising where and how fast to expand into new markets. I grew up on a farm, and at heart I’m still a farm girl; that means I work hard and I don’t give up. Based on everything I’ve read and heard about your company, I can see that it’s on the cusp of something big. I’d like to help you take it there.”
See what I just did there? I turned this interview on its head in the very first question. I did it with a compelling, confident, narrative explanation of who I am, where I come from, and where I’m going. That answer is powerful because it shows that I understand the particular needs of the company as well as how I can apply my strengths and expertise to address them. Rather than explain why I want the job, I told them why they need me to take the job. I didn’t simply recite information, I told a story—one in which I’m the hero.