The key to landing a job offer is a strong interview. Although a great resume is also an essential component of an effective job search, it is undeniably in the interview that you eliminate your competition and establish yourself as the frontrunner. In applying strategy to your message you inspire the interview team’s confidence in your abilities, and confidence in their ultimate choice: You!
An Insider’s Perspective
Job hunters mistakenly assume that interviewers know exactly what sort of applicant they want. But oftentimes the interview team is composed of staff who have only a superficial knowledge of the position’s needs, do not know the existing team dynamics, and know nothing of upcoming challenges. What they do know is that they desperately want one candidate to stand out as first choice, and make their selection straightforward. The person who gets the offer is not necessarily the one who will perform best in the job; it is the one who interviews best. This means addressing the interview team’s main concerns. The best candidate proves she or he can do the job (has the skills and past experience), is a minimal risk (no red flags), is a good fit (easy to like), and will accept the money offered.
You can now put your insider’s knowledge of the interview process weakness to your advantage. Begin by sharing what is seldom heard at an interview: describe your personal attributes—work ethic, reliable attendance, record of pitching in and helping, the passion you have for your work and how you get in early or stay late—of course stick to attributes authentic to you. Now build on this with specific stories of how these aspects benefited past employers: how your insight into marketing helped your department win a bid on a national job that contributed to a 120% growth in revenues; how your ability to troubleshoot quickly saved a crucial order from missing a deadline, thus retaining a $2M account; how your strong work ethic contributed to your company achieving its ISO Certification; how your cross-training regularly comes in handy on the shop floor.
Develop a conversation (as opposed to the typical question and answer format) by asking
questions of the interviewer—questions about the company and the position. Respond to the answers with related details that reaffirm your suitability. Sell yourself into the job.
Do not, under any circumstances, mention any negatives. No need to grumble that your current boss is truly unbearable; that your employer’s payroll cheques are bouncing; or that you are leaving your position because you are being bullied. Do not provide the team with any reason for your elimination.
An interview is stressful for the interviewer too; a fact that interviewees don’t always realize.
After all, a lot of money rests on a good hiring decision. Take advantage of the “inside scoop” to establish yourself as the best choice … and get ready to accept an offer!
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