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Every time I go into an interview, I figure out one more thing that I should have done, sigh! I'm hoping I didn't screw up too badly this time around but not holding my breath. Since I have so much of it still going around in my head, I'm guessing it would help if I share it here.

I've learned that going into an interview is like selling your services. Unfortunately, I'm not a seller. I even have a hard time "selling" my work to my boss when evaluation time rolls around. So, I was thinking of the time we were soliciting quotes for building a patio in our house. The highest bid won the business because: they worked with us to figure out what we needed, they proposed several solutions that would meet our needs, and they showed us what they have done and could be done in our property.

I also remember one of the contractors that I talked to. He listened to our needs, told us he could do the job and gave us the quote. He didn't discuss different alternatives, didn't show us what he has done or explain how he came up with the estimate. Unfortunately, I have had interviews go like that. I missed all the opportunities to tell the hiring manager why I was perfect for the job.

With that in mind, I set out to prepare for this last interview. For the "tell me about yourself" question I talked about how my experience meets their requirements. I even went out and told them exactly that in the interview. In the past I have thought that by listing my accomplishments I would imply that there is a match. I decided I needed to explicitly say it for them to know it.

On the flip side, I missed the opportunity to explain how I am "uniquely" qualified for the position. I recognized this opportunity after the fact since it came in by them pointing out the gap that I may have in my experience. Now that I think about it I also got asked why I wanted to move from hardware to software. The truth of the matter is that everyone has a gap unless they were the ones doing the exact same job in the exact same company before. So, I need to shift away from focusing in the deficiency, figure out how I would cover the gap, and explain how my past experience can help in covering the gap much better than anyone else. I need to remember that what they are really asking is how they can justify to their upper management hiring someone outside of their group to do the job. I hate those missed opportunities!

- zol
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I hate those missed opportunities!

You might send a thank-you email to the interviewer and add the sales pitch you think you should've given. Not too long and wordy, mind, make a brisk point or two. You might also mention how much you'd enjoy working for him/her or with their team or customers/suppliers, whatever is most appropriate.

Whenever I interviewed for professional jobs, I sent a thank-you note (later a thank-you email) and reiterated my good fit with their needs. It didn't always work, but usually. One hiring manager thought I wasn't a good fit for the job, but hung onto my info and contacted me 6 months later when she was staffing up a new department. I was her first hire there!

Before getting professional jobs, I was always offered positions on the spot. When someone articulate, upbeat, nicely groomed and dressed goes after a low-end job, they usually blow away the competition. At least that worked for me in decades past.

Easy for me to pontificate now that I'm retired...I doubt I'd fare so well in today's job market.

While prepping for teaching a class this fall in user interface design (DH is a college computer science instructor), a few minutes ago my husband found a book of mine on that subject that I used in that job referenced above. heh.
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I'm going to second alstro's advice. If you can send a follow-up email, it will give you a chance to not only thank them for their time, but also to emphasize any points you want to make about why you're a good fit for the position. Possibly even why the gap could work to their advantage.

I landed the job I have now a little over 4 years ago. At an appreciation dinner in April, I had the opportunity to talk about all the changes our office had been through in the past 18 months. My former boss was in attendance. I pointed out how excited I had been to get the job and mentioned that I had even sent a follow-up email to him expanding on why I was the right person for it. He smiled at me from the audience and said "And that's what put you over the top"

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