For those who have been in the market place for years and have achieved much over their careers it becomes a very sensitive issue on how you proclaim your accomplishments while also acknowledging that you are a team player. You certainly do not want to position yourself as an egotistical leader who does not share accolades with others but when you are positioning yourself for your next job you must tell the world that you are something very special and have credentials that they need immediately to be successful.
There are numerous steps in the search process and at each point it is important to get the decision-makers attention and approval. When you are presenting your cover letter and resume it is imperative for you to emphasize results ($1 million profit etc.) while emphasizing your role as a team leader in the achievement. You certainly want to share the accomplishment but do remind the interviewer that you were the Leader of the project or activity. Once you get your foot in the door and get a telephone interview with the search committee or “head hunter” you must then make it quite obvious that your experiences and skillset matches the potential organization perfectly. Your expertise can advance the organization to new heights and that you bring an external perspective with internal insights.
If you are lucky enough to advance to an in-person interview, since there are reportedly 7 candidates for each available vacancy you must then make sure that you bring your A game into play. These are people that need to be impressed but not overwhelmed. Though it would be nice to have the selection committee be wowed and make you an immediate offer, that scenario is highly unlikely in today’s economy. There are too many good job-seekers out there that you are competing against so you must be determined, be prepared and most importantly be self-confident while not over emphasizing your talents.
I know it goes against all rules to play down your abilities but in reality you are presenting to the world your personality and it is important to show all that though you are exceptional that you can play with others and give credit where credit is due. Balance is key! Make sure that you answer questions in a direct and forthright manner while not being too wordy. I have noticed that since I have spent much more time away from an office and interaction with staff that I have become too needy when it comes to conversations so it is important to balance the interaction so the individuals who are asking the questions can be confident that their inquiries have an appropriate response. Make sure you don’t come off as the sterotypical “sales person” who can be overwhelming at times and in rare cases can take the air out of the room.
The bottom-line for all interactions with an interviewer, be it for a job or in your daily life as an executive is to make sure that you are precise, clear and direct. A salesman never finishes his presentation without the “close.” Make sure you do the same in any interview. No one should ever be questioning your skills or your intended message. Rehearse your presentation and and practice your close and you will be surprised how well the response will be.