We’ve all been there: spent hours online job searching, sending resumes, and filling out applications. Once in a great while we get an email or even a phone screen to quickly assess our skills and preliminary job fit. Then finally, FINALLY we get called for an in-person interview. We’re stoked! We made it out of the application black hole and get to meet with a real LIVE person.
Then we remember how much interviews suck.
The pomp and circumstance, the sales pitch to prove how great we are, the groveling to show how much we want the job, and then there’s the nervousness and sweating. Quickly we begin googling interview tips and tricks:
“What to say in an interview"
"How to answer behavioral interview questions”
“What to ask the interviewer"
“How to tell if your interviewer likes you”
There is no shortage of advice on how to prepare for an interview, what to wear, what to say, how to act. Unfortunately, a lot of this advice is teaching us how to game a process that is already pretty dysfunctional. If we only focus on getting the job and aren't hyper-vigilant on the prospect of long-term fit, what happens when we actually get it? A lot of times we end up miserable, over or underutilized, and/or totally disconnected from what our bosses value and prioritize. I'm speaking from experience here: it sucks! Now we're unhappy, hate our job, and feel like we can’t quit because it will look bad on our resume (insert eye roll here).
Interviews are really nothing more than two (or more) professionals having a business conversation.
Thus, we have a choice: we can focus on how to best "sell" ourselves to get this one job, or we can focus on ensuring alignment between our skills, values, career goals, and the position fit, organizational culture, and company objectives - and being prepared to communicate THAT in the interview.
If you want to be more focused and proactive in managing your career while also securing real position and organizational fit, take a moment to reflect on your specific objectives for pursuing the role in the first place. Being authentic and fully prepared to communicate your professional value and priorities relative to the organization's mission and objectives is truly a win-win for both parties.
So, the next time you land a job interview, instead of treating it like a performance you have to nail, try preparing in a different way - answer these questions for yourself:
Why do I want to work at this particular company? Specifically define, document, (write it down!) and understand how your values and professional mission align with the organization’s, and how you think you can make an impact.
Why do I want this particular position? Specifically define, document, (write it down!) and understand how your skills and experience align with the responsibilities of the position, and how you will perform in the position to make maximum impact.
Which professional achievements provide evidence I will excel in this role? Specifically define, document (write it down!) and understand your full professional value by identifying at least 5-8 accomplishments related to the position that, when discussed, will provide the detail needed to envision you in the role. BONUS:identifying and being able to communicate your professional achievements and impact will help build your confidence that you can do this job!
I’m not here to tell you how to dress or when to show up for an interview - you can google that. I’m here to remind you that the two parties involved in an interview have equal equalinterest: the company is looking for a good hire, and you’re looking for a good company to work for. It is hardly ever in your best interest to “sell” yourself into a job by pretending to be exactly what the company needs. You must also identify and understand how your experience, skills, and career goals will benefit as well.
Sounds nice, but not necessarily easy? Please GET IN TOUCH to learn more about how I partner with professionals like you to craft and tell your professional story in an authentic and compelling way, to define your full value in the job market and identify ways to gain access to opportunities that align with your career goals, inspire, and motivate you.