Being the Right Candidate for the Job
You’ve submitted a CV and now you’ve been offered an interview. Most people believe that an interview means preparing to answer questions in the hope they pick them as the right person for the job.
Now, this is one way to do it. But what if you could be better positioned? What if you could become the perfect candidate?
In preparing for an interview you can learn how to position yourself as the best candidate for the role. Do not just rock up in the hope you wing it, unless you have a lot of interview experience and therefore know what you’re doing inside out and upside down.
Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. They have trawled through hundreds of CV’s. They have carefully picked a handful of candidates who they think could be an asset to the company. Now they have to interview all of them whilst getting their own day job done. This is where you change your approach. An interview is about the company finding out if you can meet their needs. Are you professional in person? Do you know what you’re talking about? What is the reason you want the job?
A lot of people head into an interview and talk about themselves. Over and over! Obviously this is partly the point, they want to get to know you. But if you keep talking about what you want, where you’re going, what your goals are, the hiring manager is going to begin to wonder what’s in it for them and the company. You need to be telling them what you can do for them. Which of your skills is important and how could it help you contribute to this role.
Start by doing your research. Hopefully by this point you have researched the company and what they are trying to achieve. Use this as the basis for your preparation. If you know what the company needs then you can position yourself to help them. Think of the questions they might ask you in the interview and then write out your responses with those needs in mind.
If you happen to have a friend or know someone who works at the company, this is a great way to gain valuable insight. Talk to them and find out what challenges the company is having. It could be anything and don’t dismiss a problem that might seem small as these can often cause managers a great deal of stress. Take this information and weave it into your answers. Now, not only are you insightful, but you have shown them how you could help them solve their problems.
Come up with at least five questions that you think will come up in the interview and craft perfect answers to these using your research. Be honest and think about your unique traits. Don’t worry if you think they sound contrived or over the top yet, just focus on positioning yourself as the best candidate.
Now you have your answers you need to practice! This really is crucial. Find a friend who will ask you the questions and then practice your answers. If there isn’t anyone you feel comfortable talking to, then grab a mirror and sit in front of that instead. This may seem crazy but you would be surprised what comes out of people’s mouths when they are unprepared.
Have your answers in front of you and practice until you can answer a question calmly and professionally without looking at the page. You will find that the more you practice the more natural the answers begin to sound. You will automatically smooth out the wrinkles in your responses because you will have heard them and know how they come across.
Having well thought out, intelligent answers to questions that address their needs can be the defining factor that gives you an advantage over another candidate. Sure someone can have more experience than you, but if they only talk about themselves and never address what they can do for the company, who do you think will be first in line for the job? The one with all the experience or the one who had all the right answers?
Once you are at this stage, watch yourself giving the answers in the mirror or ask your friend about your body language. Do you come across as nervous? Are you eye contacting them? Or do you appear over confident? Interviews are also about giving the hiring manager a chance to see how you behave. So, if you can’t eye contact and your voice is quiet as a mouse, will you be a good sales person? If you are loud, arrogant and pushy, will you be a good customer service rep?
Now you have prepared for the interview all you need to do is turn up on time and remember to smile. At the end of the interview remember to thank them and make sure that you have their details so you can follow up with them later on.
What are your interview stories? Good or bad we’d love to hear them!
Posted by: Sarah Price, on June 3, 2014
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