Success comes from standing out, not fitting in.” Don Draper, Mad Men

“The interview process is broken,” so says Eric P. Kramer, author of the hot new interview process book Active Interviewing: Branding Selling and Presenting Yourself to Win Your Next Job. Hiring managers are not good interviewers and candidates make a lot of interview mistakes even after expert training and lots of practice. The interview needs fixing and using Active Interviewing strategies can help fix the problem.

A structured sales approach and a well-delivered interview presentation fixes job interviews for both the candidate and the hiring manager says Kramer. If you are comfortable taking bold new approaches to fix broken processes and you aren’t landing your dream job then you will likely take to AI and will wonder why someone didn’t think of it earlier. If you are uncomfortable with change and are a more traditional candidate then this bold approach probably isn’t for you.

Fixing a Broken Interview from the Interviewee’s Perspective

         1. Stop thinking of yourself as an ex employee.

2. Start thinking of yourself as a business of one – providing services that need to be sold.

3. Quit passive behavior, stop thinking that jobs will find you, and give up the belief that employers are clever enough to figure out your value on their own.

4. Become more assertive and begin to guide the interviewer.

5. Make sure to communicate the information the interviewer needs to know to make an informed hiring decision.

6. Determine your brand and communicate it in your marketing materials and in the interview. (Examples of brand traits include; strong leader, hands on manager, analytical thinker, creative problem solver, a positive person with high energy…)

7. Communicate your brand so powerfully in an interview that an interviewer can articulate your brand after the interview without you telling them specifically what it is.

8. Focus on the real problems you are being hired to solve. As Zig Ziglar, a famous sales guru says, “People don’t buy drills, they buy holes.”

9. Don’t talk about what you have done in the past, focus on what you are going to do for the company. You are not selling the tool but what the tool can make.

10.  Don’t leave hiring managers to guess at your benefits. Figure out what problems need to be solved in the company or department, define the benefit(s) derived from solving the problem and then tie your features (skills) to the benefits (results). List your skills, but sell your results!

11.  In preparing for the interview, ask yourself, “If I were hiring for this position, what questions would I ask?” Prepare the questions, practice the answers then prepare to sell yourself.

12.  Ask good, powerful questions throughout as well as at the end of the interview that will differentiate you from other candidates.

13.  Research the company extensively and show what you know in the questions you ask or the answers you give. For example: I understand that XYZ company gained a 5% market share in the NW region of the country last year, what would you attribute this to?

14.  Develop and perfect presentation and persuasion skills and apply them to answering interview questions.

Interviewees can take more control of the interview than they currently do. Strangely enough, hiring managers are usually happy to share that control if only the interviewee would quit worrying about answering questions so correctly and concentrate more on actively selling themselves.

For more on Active Interviewing stay tuned to and go to

Colleen Clarke

Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer