What’s Important – Really Important In a Job Interview

Personal Branding

So, finally, the phone rings and the caller ID displays the name of a company you sent your résumé to. The caller is from the company’s human resources department and wants to schedule you for an in-person interview. Fantastic, this is music to your ears, but what now? Are you prepared? Do you have time to get ready? More important, do you understand the interview process and in what context the company wants to explore your candidacy? Plus, also remember that such interviews are competitive. In other words, your résumé provided some clues about you that may fit the company’s need, the company’s culture, the skills sought, and so on, but in addition to exploring hiring possibilities with you, the company does so with several additional candidates as well. So now the question is, What can you do to maximize your chances?

Know your relationship with the interviewer

From the moment you hung up the phone with the person arranging the interview, this upcoming face-to-face meeting becomes the focal point of your next few days. Such is not the case, however, with the person who’s going to conduct the interview. For that person, the excitement about meeting with you is minimal—sometimes even to the point that the interviewer might not be prepared to conduct the interview. Sometimes the interviewer does not have with him a copy of your résumé—or even the job description!—and will just wing it, as they say. On top of that, you think that well-rehearsed answers to common interview questions are very convincing. Well, think again. The interviewer knows you came in to sell yourself and knows to expect from you many self-proclaimed adjectives about how great you are. But do you really think the interviewer believes everything you say? Well, maybe some of it—and probably more of it if you have factual examples and you describe them as viewed by others.

What’s actually important to the interviewer?

This is where the candidate is at a disadvantage. Don’t forget that the hiring manager initiated the quest for the “ideal candidate” because there’s a problem to solve. It’s most likely the hiring manager (or interviewer) did not agree to meet with you because of your beautiful hands—well, unless you’re a professional model and the company is selling, say, wristwatches.

Seriously, your focus should be on identifying what the hiring manager needs done. And most likely, that information does not get revealed even via a candid dialogue. The thing is that job descriptions are typically rather general by not highlighting the specifics that are in fact the driving forces behind the hiring process for the positions advertised. Additionally, a large survey conducted among human resources personnel and hiring managers exposed the fact that 100 percent of them were looking for candidate fit into their companies’ cultures. And 82 percent of interviewers said they look for passion and excitement in candidates. So, based on this information, you may think your past speaks very well and you’d, therefore, be a shoo-in for the position. Not so, says the survey, unless you fit into the culture and you exhibit passion and excitement while interviewing.

As a reader, you may have your own opinion. I’d welcome your comment.