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Results vs Activity April 22, 2020

My biggest challenge when I was job hunting was articulating the RESULTS I had achieved across my career.

This was definitely a stumbling block.

I’d been a recruiter for years and still, I struggled. I’m more of a “people-person” who likes to talk about relationships and empowerment, joy and happiness at work. Those are definitely keys for me at life and work. Yet, they are only byproducts of making a contribution to a business.

My confession is meant to help you get through the interview process and into the job you’re dreaming about. Day in and out I have the privilege of talking with talented, funny, wise and all-around good people who have no idea how to answer the question “Tell me about your most significant, measurable accomplishments. Be as specific as possible.”

As they tell me about building relationships and winning awards, I guide them by asking what metrics are used when it comes time for their annual review. Sometimes that is enough to get them to regroup and explain that they lead a team of 8 to reduce downtime by 7% – by using specific lean tools or utilizing a particular process to train their team.

Others (so like me!) repeat their wins and the things they do – “I work 12 hour days putting out fires and dealing with constant outages,” or “I got my degree in XYZ while working full-time.” These are definitely highlights however they don’t give me the ammunition I need to represent them as a strong candidate.

As tight as this labor force is, companies are still focused on hiring the RIGHT person for a role. One of the ways they determine that fit is to look at the specific metrics or ways that a candidate contributed to an employer’s bottom-line.

If you can speak to the ways in which you helped a company grow, get out of a bad spot, or improve their bottom line, you’re going to make a better impression. You will have also have a stronger chance of making it through to the hiring authority and hopefully receive an offer.

You may think you don’t have any specific metrics. That’s not true. If you are not contributing at work you’ll not have a job for long. You may, however, be a liberal arts major like me who thinks more about the soft skills than the metrics. In order to beef up your personal metrics awareness, take a look at your last year on the job. If you’ve spoken to 50 clients to set appointments for your sales team, don’t say you make outbound phone calls or set appointments. Instead, take a look at the bottom line and determine roughly how much revenue those calls/appointments contributed to the company.

At the end of the day, your ability to talk about your RESULTS instead of your daily activities at work makes a world of difference in the interview and hiring process.

Written by: PEGGIE ARVIDSON, Executive Recruiter

Peggie Arvidson started recruiting in junior high school when she convinced her classmates to join her in creating a ski club. Since then, she’s held many positions from sales to recruiting to non-profit leadership and quality assurance.  Her focus in her life and career is helping people to find their right work for the right pay because she believes that when people are happy at work, they are secure in life, and happy people change the world for the better.

Peggie has moved more than 30 times across 5 states and three time zones, and is not a military brat. She can usually be found walking around Williamsburg, tasting new foods, and searching out hidden beauty whenever she’s not at work.


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