MSEJ August 2018 - Page 5

“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Here’s the thing: when it comes to an interview, you’re not bragging. You’re helping the interviewer understand your resume in context. You’re there to tell them a story about who you are, the skills you have, and why your leadership experiences make you perfect for the job.

If you’re wondering how to frame your leadership experience in an interview, or are nervous about presenting yourself as a leader on the job, here are a few things I keep in mind:

1. Good leaders prepare in advance. My old baseball coach always said, “Practice makes nearly perfect.”

In the military, I would get ready weeks before an inspection; that way there were no surprises. When it comes to an interview, I do the same thing by getting my suit ready and thinking of questions the company might have. Then I practice my answers so they flow naturally. It’s easier to give good answers when you’ve had time to think things through.

2. Good leaders, military or otherwise, know who they're leading. If you want to talk like a leader, you need to know about the company’s history, their present market, and their future goals. Be prepared to relate examples from your military leadership to the specific tasks listed in the job description and remember to look at the values they list on their website. Connect those values to your leadership style, military experience, and goals for the future.

3. Good leaders know the clock matters. Half of leading is showing up. I would show up to battalion formations fifteen minutes before the platoon formation to make sure I wasn’t late. The same goes for job interviews and work in general. Show up early, demonstrate that you’re cool under pressure. Show your willingness to be there for the company and your dedication to the job.