The Five Things that Really Count in a Job Interview
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Interviewers, interview formats and interview questions come in all shapes and sizes and there are ample tomes and articles written to prepare for them all! There are the usual questions and the usual answers expected, then there are the different types of “trick” questions which have mostly been accounted for and written about too. There are behavioral and attitudinal and verbal language and body language cues interviewers are looking for that you can be taught to anticipate. And there are the usual ample opportunities to prove your skills and competencies and/or to dig a hole and sink yourself.
But really at the end of the day most interviewers are looking for mainly five things and all questions are targeted towards them and all answers need to deliver on them. Here they are in brief:
1. What you bring to the job at hand
Notice it’s all about the job at hand. You may or may not have been a whiz kid at your last job but it’s really about what direct transferable skills you bring to the table and how these can and will prepare you to excel at the exact job role you are interviewing for. By all means wax lyrical about your past accomplishments but be aware that given your limited face time and the interviewers limited attention span, these need to be phrased to accommodate your future employer’s prism by highlighting these particular achievements that are most directly relevant and important for your desired role. Study the role in detail and research the company and industry so you are well aware of exactly what will be required.
2. How much you will love and be loyal to the job and company
Enthusiasm is not overrated nor is integrity and loyalty which are always paramount. Companies in the digital era are well aware of the tremendous transparency in the job market thanks to the success of leading job sites, and they are cognizant of the realms of opportunity that can be accessed with a simple click. They are also aware of the high costs of employee churn and the detrimental effects of this on employee morale, satisfaction and general productivity. For this reason they will almost always favor a more stable candidate who has shown loyalty, goodwill and a high level of integrity with past employers. Your priorities will be in question here and employers will be looking first and foremost for professionals who are very committed to their careers and display a high level of personal and professional integrity.
3. How quickly you will hit the ground running
Time is money and employers investing in top professional skills want to see a dividend sooner rather than later. Interviews are not the ideal time to demand prolonged training courses and induction periods and orientation activities especially if you are competing with professionals who assert and can prove they are prepared to make immediate inroads in the role. Show that you are prepared to make an immediate contribution and that in the short, intermediate and long term you are a winning investment.
4. How willing you are to adapt
You may be able and successful but employers need to know if you still have it in you to make the sacrifices and investments needed to excel in the new work environment. You need to display adaptability and flexibility as well as willingness and ability to blend into the new company culture and adopt new policies, procedures and business guidelines. All cultures are not the same and adaptability is at a premium with employers across the board.
5. How pleasant and professional you will be to work with
This one is not often written about but after all the theory and degrees and top-rated credentials are analyzed, people still prefer to work with people they like, respect, admire and trust. Smile, put on the charms and be true to yourself and your values; at the end of the day the chemistry needs to be right too and you will work best in a team that welcomes and embraces and values you and vice versa.