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How To Take A Forbes 15 Must-Have Skills List And Improve Your Interview Performance

If you're applying for any job, it should be no surprise that it's vitally important to have as many of the listed required skills as possible.

In this post, I would like to elaborate a little on that fundamental idea.  The post was inspired by this article from www.forbes.com:  

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2020/04/24/15-must-have-skills-for-any-successful-cio-candidate/

Of course, as you would expect from Forbes, the content is useful in and of itself. But for the purpose of this article, take a closer look at the list of skills:

  1. The ability to see the big picture
  2. Soft skills
  3. The ability to communicate with finesse

Considering this is a CIO (Chief Information Officer) role, do you see anything about Technology yet? 

The list continues...

4. Strategic thinking for data use
5. The ability to connect skills to business needs
6. Experience in a commercial market
7. Adaptability
8. Emotional intelligence
9. Strategic planning skills
10. Sales skills

... so we've reached point 10 and the only mention of data was at point 4...

Then we get to 

11. Digital literacy
12. An innovative mindset
13. Disruptive thinking
14. The ability to translate complex terms
15. Friendliness, relevance and firm accountability

Digital literacy is hardly the exclusive domain of the CIO in today's often technology-driven workplaces. And then at point 14, we finally get to the ability to translate complex tech terms for the rest of us.

Of course, the article begins by stating that a competent CIO should have the 'technical know-how down pat.' But what should be of interest to all senior-level job seekers or promotion hunters is the adjacent set of so-called 'soft' skills which are also required to do the job.

These 'soft skills' are too often overlooked in preparation for technical roles. Ultimately, whether you're applying for a role in Technology, Finance, Manufacturing, or Marketing, we're in a People First game. And you need to be able to show you have the people skills to complement your technical expertise.

So how can you use this Forbes list to prepare better and perform better in your interviews?

Well, this list is clearly highly transferrable. Sure, a good CIO will have these skills, but so will a good senior leader in Marketing, HR, Innovation, or Finance. If you are preparing for an interview for a senior-level role, here are my recommended 4 steps for how to use an informative read to super-charge your preparation:

Step 1) Take a look at the job description you are applying for and list out all the skills, knowledge and experience they state that they want in their ideal candidate. 

Step 2) Add anything that's extra from this list of 15 skills from Forbes.com.

Step 3) Now take a look at your experience. Your CV / Resume / LinkedIn profile will be a good place to start, but don't stop there. Let's face it. You've done a whole lot more and been involved in many more situation than are listed on these documents. So dig deep in your memory. Alongside each of the points/skills/knowledge required, list your 1 or 2 or 3 best examples that you could give to demonstrate your exemplary command of this skill.

Step 4) Build out a C. A. R. answer for each example. You will find that the same story or project may be used for multiple examples. That is fine. Some people talk about Google's "S.T.A.R." approach rather than C. A. R. (STAR = Situaion, Task, Actions, Results). (CAR = Context, Actions, Results). Both are good. Use your preference. I personally prefer CAR because it's simpler. In the heat of the moment in an interview, I like to keep things as simple as possible. Here's my recommendation for a winning C.A.R. example...

CONTEXT: Remember your interviewer has no idea which story you're doing to tell. So you have to bring them 'up to speed' before you begin.  This is your chance to grab their attention and focus their brain which could be on any number of other things "BAM!" right on to your story. You need to tell them:

  • When your example was from (the year)
  • What was happening (the company you were at, the brand you were working on, etc.)
  • The VILLAIN - what was causing the drama in this instance?  Most people miss this out but it's critical to ensuring that your example makes a gripping story and keeps their attention. (Too many candidates tell boring examples! You want to be the Obvious Candidate in your search so you need to tell amazing, attention holding example stories!) 
  • ... collectively these introductory, context-setting points will bring your interviewer to the starting line of your story. They are in the room with you as the action begins and you've grabbed their attention...

 

ACTION: Next, simply list the 2-4 key, critical actions that you took in this situation. List more than this and you'll lose the attention of your listener. Keep them concise. Keep them in the logical order so they are easy to follow. Then...

 

"WOW" RESULTS: Finally, hit them with the outcome. The secret to a great example story is the punchline. This is what you've been building towards. Despite the impact of the VILLAIN (e.g. the economic downturn, the difficult individual, the cut budget, the #1 customer leaving, etc., etc.) you still achieved outcomes X, Y, and Z. A great punchline is tight, and packed with data. Numbers or results work well (e.g. I delivered a sales increase of 240% in 6 months; I cut costs by 17%), but sometimes there is no %, but details are still essential (e.g. Ultimately, I succeeded in changing the mind of the Buyer who renewed their $multi-million contract with OurCo rather than leaving to buy from their competitor. Over the following 3 years that was worth X to OurCo.)

 

Whether you are applying for a CIO role or any other Managerial or Senior-Level position, this detailed preparation of your examples will enable you to confidently approach any behavioral or competency-based interview. Yes, it takes hours of preparation, but the transformation of your answers will be more than evident to your interviewers. That is how you prepare your skills stories to present and position yourself as THE #1 Obvious Candidate.

If you would like help with your interview preparation, that's what I do. I work with ambitious job seekers and promotion hunters to help them to position themselves as the Obvious Candidate for the job they want. You can book a free, no-obligation planning call with me here: https://obvious.as.me/ObviousCandidate-Intro-Call or sign up from my website at www.obviouscandidate.com .

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