For almost 25 years the company that I worked for knew what I was capable of. I was passionate about what I was asked to do and about the teams that I was privileged to work with. I was capable and my managers knew that I cared about the company and the work.
Now that I am in the job market again there is no assumption that I care about the company, the people or the work. In interviews the qualities that were once “givens” for me are now “unknowns” about me.
The knowledge, experience, degrees and certifications…all those things that go on a resume may result in an interview. However once you are sitting face to face with a hiring manager all those credentials become secondary.
We have to convince the person interviewing us that we are the right fit for their company.
In a recent telephone interview with a small company I was asked what my prior company’s mission statement was. While I knew the key parts of it…it had been 9 months since I’d worked there and quite frankly I couldn’t have repeated it word for word when I worked there. It just wasn’t important to my employer.
What was important to the interviewer and apparently her company was that every employee know the mission and be as passionate about it as the owners. If only we could know these kinds of things before the interview. The lesson learned here…being smart, talented and experienced is a great start. But just as important…you need to convince a complete stranger that you care.
The more interviews you go on the better you’ll be at the process…or you’ll just be a better actor. Either way…you have to be convincing.
While finding a position may be your only focus…you need to be honest with yourself. Are you applying for the job because you have to (unemployment requires it) or because you are really interested in the position? If you are doing it because you have to, know that the interviewer will sense that your heart isn’t in it. Don’t be disappointed when they don’t call you back. If however it sounds like a great next job…or even your dream job…don’t hold back! Let your passion show…the energy may be the difference between being selected or being the 2nd choice.
Looking for some clues to given you an advantage at your next interview? Try these Simple Steps when you are preparing for your telephone or in-person interview:
- Google the company. Read the first dozen substantive articles (or as many as you can find.) What are the involved in? Are they sponsors of Special Olympics or They Boys & Girl’s Clubs? Are the owners known for political activism? Do they own other companies? Learn what you can about what is important to them.
- Once you understand what they are known for determine what part of your experience or activities have a connection to theirs. Prepare several responses that would reflect the parts of you that you know are important to them.
- If you have a strong LinkedIn Profile with recommendations that appear to have similar values that you’ve learned about the company send a LinkedIn Connection request to your interviewer. Let him or her know that you wanted them to have more to consider before your interview.
Every advantage that you can build for you when it comes to applying for positions and interviews will help in the end. Thousands of people send in resumes and never consider the next steps. Be prepared. Connect the dots between you and your potential employer!
Postscript: I interviewed with a company several weeks ago and loved them. Every one that I met were passionate, good souls. The position had several elements that I have no desire to do. (Been there done that…) After a few additional meetings and a little adaptation I have signed on to the position. What is special about this company is that since I agreed to work for them several people that I’d met have either called or e-mailed me to tell me how excited they are to have me join them. That has never happened in all of the years that I have been employed. Their efforts really have made me want to work for them! The lesson here…if you are hiring new employees making them feel welcome has immeasurable value. It’s my turn make others feel welcome at this company!