Now, the next statement may cause you sweat just a little but, when you are sat waiting to be interviewed for that job you really-really want, it’s so important you remember one thing: the people sat on the other side of that desk don’t care about you in the slightest. They don’t. Of course, they don’t. The only thing they care about is 1) themselves and 2) their business and, in the next half an hour, how you can help both 1) and 2) improve. It really is as simple as that. This is a good thing, by the way.
You see, the fact they only care about themselves means that they are somewhat bottom-line blind. Every question they ask – no matter how they phrase it – has a problem of theirs at heart and how you can solve it in mind. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? How do you work with others? What drives you? All of these are designed to see how you will improve what they are doing. Period. It doesn’t matter if this is your first job, a new job, your manager’s job or a total career change kind of job, it’s always worth keeping this in mind.
In case you’re still trying to work out how this is a good thing, your answers have a focus. Convince them why you are awesome for them and they’ll hire you, miss the mark and they won’t. The trick, however, is going deeper; proving that you have the abilities to solve those super-important and meant-to-be-a-secret problems they are struggling with and the fight will be over there and then. Get that right and it won’t be about whether they want to hire you, it’ll be that they need to.
So, how do you make yourself the candidate every company needs to hire?
It’s All In The Preparation
We mentioned your need to solve “those super-important and meant-to-be-a-secret problems they are struggling with”. Well, the only way to do this is by doing as much homework as you possibly can. Seriously. We’re not talking about a quick Google search the morning of the interview. We’re talking about being spy-like and researching what the company’s culture is like. Their history and customers, their suppliers, their collaborators, their figures, and competitors. We’re talking about getting an understanding of their context too, and that means their social context, economic and political context, and the context of their branding. Once you have done this, go and make a cup of coffee, grab a biscuit, and then head back to the computer and start learning about their values and their causes and their relationships and their public opinion and everything else you can think of. You may think this is a lot of work, and it is, but it is the investment you need to make in that job you really want. You’ll only kick yourself otherwise.
It’s Not About Experience
Okay, so it is to a degree. After all, having relevant industry experience is going to make them nod, although only slightly because anything they don’t know they can teach you. What they want to see from experience are progression and proactivity. They want to see that you took the time to take a course with Excelsia College Online to learn more about ethical leadership in business because this shows you have drive. They want to see that you recognized you were weak at public speaking and so you’ve attended seminars to counter this, even going so far as to get accredited by your former employer. Anything that says you are proactive is going to go in your favor. You may have spent the last week or so gulping so loudly your ears hurt, which is because you applied for a position that requires a minimum of six years experience but you only have three. It doesn’t matter. They will prefer to see someone that has proactively made strides to grow and succeed than someone with seven years experience and nothing not able to show for it.
Quick On Your Feet
The ability to think on your feet quicker than Usain Bolt can run on his is one of the most important assets to show you have. This is because quick thinking is a delicious cocktail made up of blended talent, knowledge, and skill. This, in the eyes of the interviewer, is gold dust. Oh, and in case you’ve broken out in a sweat again because thinking on your feet isn’t a talent of yours, you’re wrong. It is, you’re just measuring it in the wrong way. We are all different and that means we all learn differently and we all think differently. Some jump straight into analytical thinking, some go to empathetic thinking, others start processing stuff based on what they have been told and the relationships they see. Whatever your thinking process is, don’t be scared to use it. It may not be the thing they are looking for, but that analytical brain may be just what they want. Interviews are a gamble, but it is better to take a risk and believe you are what they need then to go in there and over-think things. Roll the dice by being who you are.
Businesses Want A Good Fit
This can come in a lot of different forms but, to narrow it down for you, employers want someone that is either going to be a good fit with their current culture or a person that is going to heighten what they have; lift it to that next level. This could well be the most important thing on their marking sheet. How is that possible? Well, any good business knows they can teach their employees the skills they need. What they can’t teach, however, is personality. If you have the chance to meet and chit chat with employees while you are waiting to be seen, then meet and chit chat with them. Show you get on with people. Influence the people that may have an influence over the decision. As for when you are in the room, nothing is more infectious than excitement, enthusiasm, and passion (heuurrgggh, we said the passion word). Even if this isn’t your first choice job, be passionate about it in the interview processes. You want the choice to be in your hands, not theirs, and that means you need to enthusiastic. The last thing you want is to leave that interview room, hear the door close behind you and have them wondering aloud whether you were actually interested in them.