Here’s a one-pager that works for every interview.
In my current company, we have an interview process to get to the next level of your job. In some other companies, promotions happen at the time of performance appraisals or as part of a broader program such as “corporate development,” “management training,” or “leadership development.”
We have a simple interview process; what sets it apart though is how this interview is conducted. Apart from the usual role-fit and behavioral questions, there is a section assigned to “showcase” — a dedicated 20-minute time slot to prove your mettle.
There is no format, you have all the creative liberty in the world to use it the way you want to.
You can use this time to show your strengths, tell a story, talk about your stellar achievements or your magnificent plans — you are limited only by your thoughts.
Now, even if you don’t have an interview process or a dedicated showcase time, you can still use this technique to get that next job or promotion (even in the most unprecedented times that we are in.)
In this article, I will detail how to create this template, why it works, and how you can leverage it.
How to Create This Template
For both of the interviews, I had less than two nights to prepare. At first, I had many confusing thoughts:
“Should I keep it high-level and present as a story? But what if they find it too shallow?”
“Should I talk about one specific initiative and walk them through the details? However I don’t wish to bore them to death.”
“Or Should I use certain highlights, facts, and data sets?”
I am sure we all go through the same confusion and uncertainty when we initiate something new.
To help figure this out, I did two things. First, I drew a mind map of everything that I was thinking at the time.
Second, I spoke to my mentor who gave me some clarity on the approach.
Lastly, I used a single one-pager wherein I first dumped all my thoughts.
- What have I done so far in my current stint?
- What are my achievements to date?
- Why am I the right fit for this role?
- My understanding of what this role demands
- How am I going to deliver in the new role?
Once I had enough material on one page, I just had to organise it in a way to tell a story. These are all just small bullet points.
Then, I referred to certain infographic templates online to graphically present them. But most of these were paid and customising these templates would mean more time required at my end, I tried creating one myself in Powerpoint. The idea was to keep it really simple.
So, I created my own one-pager — low on design and heavy on content. I also creatively structured the content using the organisation’s communication guidelines.
My one-page template
It helped me in quite a few ways:
- All this gave me immense confidence to go into the interview. I had all my talking points so no matter the curveball I had done my research. I had thought them over and I had it right in front of me so I wouldn’t forget.
- It helped me answer some of the role-fit and behavioural questions as well.
- As I handed out the one-pager right after the introductions, the interviewers were keen to hear my showcase first — perfect opportunity to lead the interview and direct the interviewers in the direction you want to steer.
- The simple one-page template also implied I was serious about the role.
How You Can Leverage This Template Too
As I had mentioned earlier, you can leverage this technique for any job interview, whether they have dedicated time for a showcase or not.
If they do, that’s excellent; if they don’t, it’s even better. This is your time to stand out.
Being in an interviewer’s shoes, I realised, out of the 20 odd interviews that we conducted almost 18 of them were similar in their approach. And they all came from varied backgrounds, held different lengths and breadths of experience, and had strikingly different personalities.
Only two of them stood out. One of them used Prezi to showcase their entire career history to date and the other candidate gave us a Handout to explain one of his success stories. His story-telling had us all applauding for him at the end.
In this hyper-competitive world, to distinguish yourself from everyone else, you need to take a bold step.
The Muse (an online career research organisation) also talks about creating an online portfolio of your best work to showcase your potential employers what you’d bring to the table for them.
If you didn’t know of The Muse already, check them out — they have some brilliant well-researched articles on career advice and job search by prominent experts across different industries.
Use this approach, to stand out from the sea of averages.
If it is a face-to-face interview, then hand over the one-pager beforehand- they can have a quick look at what you have prepared. If it is over the phone or a video-conference, send it through before the interview and seek permission if you can present that.
Interviewers would be glad to understand what you have worked on and would likely entertain you.
Google has laid out in it’s hiring strategy the following:
“There’s no one kind of Googler, so we’re always looking for people who can bring new perspectives and life experiences to our teams.”
In fact, as per LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report, 2020 — “96% of HR and hiring professionals say employee experience is becoming more important.” What this means is employers care about their employee experience and that of potential hires as well.
A positive experience for the interviewees is pivotal for the company to attract the right talent. So they most certainly will entertain.
However, in case they politely decline, you can still use that a reference for all your answers in the interview.
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” — Milton Berle