DAV Professional Placment Group
DAV Professional Placment Group


Johannesburg +27 11 217 0000

Cape Town +27 21 468 7000

JOHANNESBURG +27 11 217 0000
CAPE TOWN +27 21 468 7000

What have YOU done for them lately?


panel-interview-stock-crop1How to take the WE out of your achievements and start keeping track of your own performance highlights and quantifiable achievements

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using the words we, us, they or them in interviews but only if you can still remember that you are the only one being interviewed. Be careful of starting your sentences with saying things like, “We designed a process…”, “We increased the turnover…”, “Our team was responsible for a new strategy…” or “We improved systems….”

You are going to be the person one day that will be accountable for delivering what you said you could. A client is interested in what you have to offer and the skills you are bringing to the table. The plan was never to hire your whole team! They are interested in the part you played in a specific project and how exactly it helped to bring about success.

Unless you are not doing anything pro-active and significant on purpose, here is how you can help yourself to make a better impression when you sit in front of your new potential boss:

1. Prepare.

If you have been with a company for a number of years you almost have to study your own CV again. Refresh your memory about specific achievements and focus on more recent ones. If your biggest career success story dates back 10 years, you won’t seem as the most progressive person in your province. As you think about what your team has done and how you have grown the business, remember to break it down into portfolios. Where did you get involved? What was the task set out for you and how were you measured? Did you achieve it? How?

2. Stay humble.

Like everything in life, there has to be a balance between being arrogant and confident. You also don’t want to come across as knowing everything. Don’t try to create the impression that if it wasn’t for you, then nothing would have happened. I promise you something will still have happened. Something always happen. It might have been better because you were part of it, but a line manager will have more respect for you if it is not only talk, but if you can back up what you say with recent examples of innovation, sales or whatever you specialize in.

3. Ask questions.

Who would you want to employ? Think about this question. If you were sitting in a big fat chair with a dining room size table for a desk, who would you get on board to take your business to the next level? Who would you trust to do what say they were going to do, when they said they were going to do it? Who would you pay a very competitive salary to and why would you do it? If you believe you could be this person, it’s a good start but it won’t get you anywhere if you don’t have a track record of having these qualities.

4. Measure success.

What are your current key performance areas? What do you have to achieve on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis and how is this measured? If you are not sure about this and you have been going about your daily job in the same manner for an unknown period of time, change it. Be the captain of your own ship. Take ownership and value your contribution to your business. Schedule a meeting with your boss and make sure you have clear goals that can be measured. Fall in love with improvement and get addicted to your own growth. If someone knows you take this seriously, they will take YOU more seriously in return. If they can sense you don’t care, they probably won’t care either and you have just wasted two people’s time. You have one chance to make a good impression, don’t mess it up.

5. Know what you want.

You are going to meet a professional person who could be your potential line manager. You aren’t going to see your therapist. If it is a first meeting, he or she doesn’t know you at all and they are not going to assist with creating your career aspirations. Have them ready before the meeting. The client already has a certain need in the business for (hopefully) someone like you and they will also want to test that this is in line with where you see yourself going. If you don’t know, chances are that you won’t get the job. You will be a much more attractive prospect if you have a clear vision. Try it; it might just work out for both parties involved.

Start today and choose to start your year in a way where you are determined to play the lead role in your own career. And if you are in a supporting act from time to time, still know where you fit in and do this to the best of your ability.

If you get this right you could be a step closer to being hired.


About Liani Mare

Adventure and a sense of humor drives me! I’m a recruiter, a triathlete, a traveler, a writer and I like talking. I believe in being brave and honest no matter what it takes. I also believe you always need something to look forward to. Sometimes I’m a little bit jealous of myself – that’s how happy I am. I admire endurance, commitment and people that live their lives authentically. I’m Afrikaans but I also have a Mandarin and a Zulu name. What’s your story? Connect with me on LinkedIn.

This entry was posted in Advice, Career Guidance. Bookmark the permalink.