Cover the Past, Present, and Future to Win Your Interview

May 23, 2011

Past Present and Future

Our brains have evolved the ability to recall past experiences and learn from them, to come up with strategies for managing things in the present, and to imagine future possibilities and outcomes. This is known as a person’s time perspective and each individual tends to view the world in relation to which time perspective they find most comfortable. Although every individual uses all three time perspectives, individuals differ in the degree to which they use each of the three thinking perspectives to make decisions.

  • Past thinkers want verification, they place a high value on testimonials, a proven track record, credentials, or the research/proof that went into creating something. These thinkers try to get to “beyond a reasonable doubt” level of certainty.
  • Present thinkers are interested in how a product or service can help them solve or manage a problem they’re dealing with now. They analyze probabilities of any given outcome and to manage to them. A present thinker is goal oriented.
  • Future thinkers look at a product or service and imagine the possibilities it opens up, and how it might impact their life moving forward. These individuals are able to imagine an infinite set of future possibilities and engage in creative and innovative speculation. They tend to be less concerned about rules.

In your interview listen for the interviewer’s time perspective. For example, one interviewer will delve deeply into prior positions and your success stories which provide proof you can do the required work- they have a past perspective. Another interviewer may be uninterested in reviewing your work history but is very focused on asking questions and discussing how you would solve certain problems- they have a present perspective. Another interviewer will speak about future plans and want to explore how your skills and experience may contribute to future success- they have a future perspective.

Throughout your interview it is important to address each time perspective- past, present, and future. However, if you detect the interviewer’s dominant time perspective, spend extra time presenting information and use language which supports the perspective. For example, with an interviewer who has a past time perspective you can answer questions with the preface “As I did in my past positions….” With an interviewer with a present time perspective you can use the preface “With my skills and experience I will immediately be able to .…”“ With an interviewer with a future perspective you can use the preface “ I imagine I can use my skills to ….”

iBest Presentation

Use an interview presentation to cover the past, present and future

101 Interview Strategies

This book has the strategies you need to win interviews


You Better Focus on WIFT instead of WIFM to Interview Your Best

September 27, 2010

Are You Making the Mistake of Focusing on What’s In  It For Me (WIFM) Vs What’s In It For Them (WIFT)

All About Me

Me Me Me

Most job candidates know they need to focus on job requirements and the  company in order to sell themselves into the position. However, many applicants make the mistake of focusing their answers on their own perspectives and needs rather than the company’s.

Here are some suggestion to focus on WIFT:


Listen Listen Listen

Listening is the most important part of an interview; and you though talking was! The beginning of any interview should be the interviewer talking about their ideas and perspectives on the job and you LISTENING LISTENING LISTENING. Applicants are typically too eager to tell the interviewer about all their great skills and abilities and the wonderful things they have done on prior jobs. This prevents the applicant from learning what they have that would be a benefit to the company. Without intense listening you cannot learn what you have that is WIFT!


Focus on Them

#2 Forget, initially, why you want the job and why this is a good opportunity for you.
WIFT is based on a total focus on the company and the job and what you can do to make the company successful. Talk as if you live to serve and your mission is to expand their bottom line. Once you have convinced them that you are the best candidate and they want to offer you the job, you can shift the focus to your needs like compensation, health care, vacation etc. Focus on these things too early and you appear too self-serving and not motivated for the job.


Be Specific

#3 Be specific about WIFT don’t leave them guessing.
Say specifically and often “Hire me and here is what is in it for you”! Too many applicants simply talk about background, skills, experience and answer a series of questions. If lucky they are asked “Why should we hire you?” and they can give a 2 minute rambling answer out of a 60 minute interview. Use every opportunity to say “here is what is in it for you”. For example, rather than “I have experience with Microsoft Products”, say “I know Power Point which means that I can produce the presentations you mentioned you have to present to you clients every month (you got this tidbit from LISTENING LISTENING LISTENING), this will certainly save you time”. See the difference, you went from “I know Microsoft products” to WIFT is saving time.

Living Good

Easy Living

#4 WIFT is mostly based on making the Hiring Managers life easier.
The Hiring Manager will say all sorts of nice lofty things about the job, the company, the community and the world. How you will be serving the needs of internal and external constituents and helping to grow the company. Bottom line, she is hiring you to make her life better! What does she need specifically for herself? Listen Listen Listen for what will make her work life easier and better. Is it more organization, productivity, problems solved or increased sales? Does she need a troubled division or team fixed, quality improved, less hassle from her boss about a specific problem? Once you know her specific needs/problems talk about how you will solve them. This is WIFT on steroids!


Strategic Action Plan

#5  Come prepared with a plan!
It is not enough simply to talk about what you will do for the company, present a 30/60 day strategic action plan. Companies love applicants with a plan. In writing, show them your goals for the first 30 days and the first 60 days. This communicates you know you need to add value quickly to the company and just how you will do it. Need help with this, go to

Ultimately, your job search is all about WIFM but to get there you have to strongly present WIFT first. Once they are clear you are the best choice, you are in a better negotiating position and will get a larger helping of WIFM!


Prepare a Presentation to focus on WIFT