The Job Interview: It’s Not About You

Often, when we are looking for employment, we become focused on what our needs are, or how we come across. It’s understandable that we are concerned about ourselves because, after all, our survival is at stake. Food, mortgage and our family’s wellbeing may be attached to getting a job that pays sufficient money. As we embark on our search we want to do everything that we can to look and be our best for that initial impression which is known as the interview.There is one aspect of all of this that we may not have considered. This concept may be novel to some people and may even seem counter-intuitive. This notion can be summed up in one sentence: “It’s not about you”.Let’s consider the point of view of the interviewer or hiring manager for a moment. It is the job of the interviewer to find the best fit for any given position within the company. The process that it takes to weed through all of the potential job candidates is a laborious one. Let’s make her job as easy as possible.

The first step is the resume. The content and format of an ideal resume changes frequently. The search for candidates has gone from sifting through hundreds of paper resumes to looking for keywords and phrases electronically. One of the ways that we can get their job position filled quickly is to make sure that we get noticed. We can do that by putting the appropriate key words in our resume.Take some time to discover what the employer is looking for. Look at their website and job posting or description. Use the words that they use when you are customizing your resume to their needs. What do your skills have in common with their ideal candidate? Is there a particular machine that they use, that you are familiar with? If so, don’t hesitate to name it in your resume or cover letter. The better fit that you are on paper, the quicker they can find you.Now that you have an interview scheduled, go in with the attitude of how you can help them. Many times, I would rather have an inexperienced candidate with a great work ethic and a willingness to learn, than an industry veteran with a chip on his shoulder.If you know what the person on the other side of the desk wants, you can help him get it. Get to know the company by doing some research. Know the job duties and what the employer needs to fill them. If possible, know something about the person that you will be meeting with. Make sure that you are dressed appropriately and act in a way that lets him know that you are the one for the job. If he is comfortable with your presentation, that is one less thing that he has to stress about and you can get down to business.

Everyone has a “what’s-in-it-for-me” agenda. Find that agenda as quickly as possible and help them get it. This outlook not only helps in finding a job, but also applies to your life in general. It’s quite amazing how far a little good will goes. You can get much more cooperation by helping the other person get what he wants. It’s not manipulation, it’s just good business practice.The last point is, don’t use this as a technique. Internalize it and be sincere. If you see it as a trick or a means to get your way, you won’t be as successful. People can smell insincerity like a dog can smell fear. Professional recruiters, hiring managers and HR directors are particularly aware, because they are trained for it and deal with people every day. The easiest and most effective way is to develop the practice of helping others meet their needs.

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