We now come to the our third and final installment of this series, in which we present you with some of the best insights a wide range of experts have to offer for making a genuine, lasting impression with an interview.
It’s important to remember as we go forward that a good interview is not just about seeking to land a position, or even expanding your networking connections. Each interview you engage in is an opportunity to sharpen your skills, develop your repertoire, and hone your edge. With this mindset, failure is a concept that simply doesn’t exist, because no matter the outcome, you walk away a stronger, more adept professional.
We begin part 3 with:
A balance of contradictions
The times, they have changed indeed. What was once a proven formula of “what employers want to hear”, now often rings as irrelevant. You now have to find a balance between the qualities they’re seeking, and actual honesty. To fail in this, or to overcompensate, will inevitably register as disingenuous or even outright deceptive. Walking this knife’s edge can be incredibly tricky.
So what happens when “hard work” and “company loyalty” have lost their winning edge?
Jason Lavis, Marketing Director of Natural Resource Professionals Ltd., and Managing Director at Out of the Box Innovations Ltd., shares his thoughts on the matter:
“With the coming quantum shift due to continued automation, coupled with artificial intelligence, most employers want flexible problem solvers. The attributes that parents and teachers have taught us in the past no longer apply.
“A potential employee who makes it clear that they are flexible, open to new ideas, and constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency or lower costs will impress. We can’t beat robots in loyalty, or workers in developing countries in relation to working hard. We have to focus on where we can provide leverage in a business.”
The right focus
Focus matters. Going into an interview with a focus on the key issues, rather than running roughshod along the conversation, can make all the difference in the world.
Adrian Ridner, CEO & Co-founder of Study.com, illustrates three particular points that will go a long way in demonstrating that you are focused on the issues that matter—and as an added bonus, these suggestions are not industry-specific, so the greater odds are that whatever the company is doing business in, these points will resonate with your interviewer.
Firstly, open the dialogue by expressing interest in the company itself. Ask questions that go beyond the obvious regarding the company’s mission, its community impact and focus, the ways in which the organization is involved and active. Once this becomes clear, you can then talk about ways in which you might contribute to those efforts. This does a great deal to show that you aren’t simply in it for the paycheck.
Secondly, take the opportunities that present themselves to show your willingness to develop new skills pertinent not only to the organization’s daily operations, but that you are willing and able to adapt to meet the company’s ever evolving needs. Markets today are in a state of constant flux; showing that you possess a dynamic mindset and can adapt to new challenges will illustrate that you can be a great asset.
Finally, talk numbers. Discuss data-driven decision making and trend-based observations. Management of all stripes have to make fast decisions, and to make the right decisions at the right time, they have to have hard data to work with. Use this opportunity to recount an anecdote of times you’ve leveraged arising data to assist in solving problems and helping with those critical decisions.
We close now with some final tips and reminders, collated and shared with us by Robin Throckmorton, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP | President, Strategic HR, inc.
- Show up! Normally this wouldn’t have to be said but it’s a trend right
now. If you can’t make it for some reason, call and let the company know.
You never want to burn a bridge.
- Show up at least 10 minutes early! Consider driving the route the day
before so you know where you are going and get a feel for the traffic patterns.
- Ask what the company dress policy is and dress one level up. For
example, if it is casual (i.e. jeans), then dress one level up as business
casual (i.e. pants and dress shirt).
- Research the company (and even the interviewers) in advance. This will
shine in the interview and help you connect to the interviewers.
- Prepare at least a few questions about the job, the company, and the culture
that will help you evaluate the opportunity.
- Ask for a business card and send a thank you note. If time allows, send
a handwritten note because you’ll stand out. Even consider sending a
personalized note to each person you met, including HR.
Remember that the interview process is an important part of the hiring process for both the company and the candidate. By utilizing the information laid out in this series, you can put your best foot forward and the end result will be a net positive for both you and, very likely, the company itself. The clever professional is always learning, always growing.
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