In my many years as an IT Recruiter and career coach, I have found what I believe is the single most effective strategy to achieve job seeking success. What is that you say? It is simply to be focused on the needs of your prospective employer and convey that you can exceed their expectations of what is normally expected of their employee, who holds that position. I’m convinced the mindsets of many job candidates, and some of their advisers are missing this key interview competency that would significantly enhance the job candidate's chances of receiving a desirable job offer. This strategy goes a step beyond the conventional approach of merely matching the job requirements.
How can you accomplish this? Well first you must make an honest assessment that you possess the required skills, knowledge and attitude for the specific job you are seeking. Often individuals’ expectations are too broad and employers’ expectations are too narrow, particularly in the tight job market from 2008 until present. However, if you carefully read the job requirement, you generally know whether you’re a potential fit or not. You might wish or hope you had the key competencies, but if you don’t have them then you don’t have them. Why waste your or and an employer’s time on an obvious mismatch?
Next, in your resume and cover letter, you must create a compelling case that you are the best, and most qualified person for the job. Resume guru Martin Yate says that a resume is the most valuable document you will ever own. Yate also recommends you spend the extra time to customize your resume for every job you apply for. Minimally, this will display you have closely read the job requirement, and you are conscientious and detail orientated. Also keep your resume as brief as you can. Hiring folks are often extremely busy. Show the courtesy by not taking more of their time than absolutely necessary in reviewing your resume. They may well thank you for it later.
OK, now you have done your due diligence with your job compatibility assessment and resume and have been invited to an interview. How can you prove you can be a potential star performer? First, exhaustively research the company, and the job itself, so you can ask intelligent questions about both during the interview. Of course you should prepare for standard interview questions like: “what are your strengths and weaknesses... “ But also be particularly aware that people, including job interviewers, like to talk about themselves and their company, as much they like to talk about someone else.
Paradoxically, by shifting the emphasis of the interview on the employer and discovering what their most critical needs are, you can gain some control over the interview process. This can be accomplished by finely focusing on how you can best satisfy these needs, which in turn can create the chemistry, camaraderie and sense of security that will make them most enthusiastic about choosing you above all other qualified candidates. In other words, skills and experience can get you the interview, but rapport in particular and emotional intelligence in general will get you hired. In these uncertain times, you must quell any uncertainty your potential employer has regarding your candidacy if you want to be chosen.
If you can decisively display you have the right mindset and skill-set, then it can quickly become obvious to your prospective employer that you are the best person for their job. Concurrently, you want to instill the thought in the mind of your potential employer that you can not only meet, but more importantly, exceed the tangible and intangible job requirements. This, like discovering the underlying reasons, and related emotions for having this position available, can create the certainty and confidence that hiring you is essential to their success. And, your success as well. Remember be friendly, flexible and most importantly, focused on the needs of your prospective employer. Follow this formula and you will get hired.