The ‘We’ and ‘I’ Challenge In Job Interviews

I had an email from someone on my email list.

They had been for a job interview but didn’t get the job.

The feedback that they got was that they had used ‘we’ rather ‘I’ in the interview when answering questions.

When this happens to you as a candidate, it can be hugely frustrating.

Chances are that in the job description and person specification they made reference to looking for a team player.

So you might think that using lots of examples of when through collaborative working you achieved success would work in your favour.

Here’s the problem.

The hiring manager is looking to appoint you (the individual) not we (the team).

As a result the hiring manager is looking to find out what you can bring personally.

Now I think most recognise that achieving significant results is a team effort.

However, when in the job interview you need to showcase your value.

You need to highlight specifically what you did, even if it was a team effort.

You can say something like:

“As a team we were looking to reduce the time to produce the monthly financial reports.  To help achieve that what I did or contributed to make that happen was…”

If you do that you will greatly reduce the risk of falling into the trap of talking about what we achieved rather than what I contributed or did.

 Give it a try.  You might just be surprised the difference it makes.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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