Start with a Zinger

I spoke this morning at WIND (Wednesday is Networking Day), helping candidates learn how to interview when the interviewers don’t necessarily ask great questions. At one point, one of the participants said, “Start with a zinger, then explain with data, then discuss your process.”

When you answer a question such as “Tell me about a particularly difficult problem you encountered,” formulate your answer this way:

If the question is too open, set the context: “On my last project,”

Start with a zinger: “I calmed down the big customer,

“Explain with data: “saving the account, which accounted for a total of $1.2M last year,

“Discuss your process: “and here’s how. First, I called the customer…..” Now you complete your story.

This technique of answering questions of start with a zinger follows a great writing technique: Hey – You – So – What. Hey is to obtain the interviewer’s attention (the zinger), You is to make the issue real to the interviewer, So is the reason why the interviewer should be interested, What is what you did.If you’re interviewing or thinking of interviewing, review your resume and see where you can find any zingers. Make a few notes to yourself and practice your stories, making sure you start with a zinger.

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