You may think that every job interview is completely different. To a certain extent that is correct. An interview can involve everything from experiential questioning to the more common set list of open ended questions. It may also involve one on one meetings or group panel sessions.
For those of you that have had the opportunity to be involved in the selection process you will appreciate that there can be a bit of consternation on both sides of the interview room. After all, the employer is trying to make a decision that they will be stuck with once they hire a person. This is the basis of their anxiety. Make the wrong decision and it can make an employer or manager’s life hell. No one wants that.
To break it down in simple terms there are three questions that will be in the back of an interviewer’s mind during the selection process – even if they do not ask these questions directly themselves.
The first question is: Can you do the job? Interviewers will skirt around this question delving into your past career to see if they can obtain evidence that you’re a good fit for the work that they intend to hire you for. They will look for first-hand experience or transferable skills that demonstrate your capacity to handle the workload and individual tasks.
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The second question is: Do you want the job? For those of you who are desperate to take on a role this may seem like a redundant question however I can honestly say that in my own personal experience there have been several roles that I have applied for but never ever wanted to secure. I have also been approached by head hunters who have pushed me into interviews for firms that I have never wanted to work for. There have also been instances when I have applied for work at certain companies and on the basis of the interview have withdrawn my interest due to a variety of reasons (pay being a major one). Then there are instances where I have offered work to potential employees only to have them knock me back. The employer wants to know that you are not kicking tyres and that you are serious about the position.
The third question is: Will you fit in with the rest of my team? Conflict in the workplace is never a good thing. Human nature means that (thankfully) we are all different. However there is such a thing as workplace culture. Whether this is based on teamwork, sharing ideas, working independently, staying back in the office until 9pm, regularly surpassing targets or simply drinking at the local bar after work the employer wants to know that the potential employee is not going to upset the apple-cart and work against the current accepted business practices.
So what does all this mean to your interview and how can you take advantage of knowing that these three key questions exist in the back of your potential employer’s mind?
Firstly, make sure that the answers to all your questions address these three issues. You can also use these issues to frame questions for the interviewer eg “Could you describe the current culture in the workplace?” You can use the interviewer’s reply to reinforce the fact that you would be a perfect fit in that type of environment.
Finally, it can be a great way to sum up your own personal fit for the job ie “I believe that I have demonstrated that I can do the job based on xyz. I certainly am very keen to secure the position and based on our discussions I believe that I would be a great fit with the rest of the team.”
For information about resumes, cover letters and selection criteria please see www.gatelounge.com.au
I wish you well in your job search – go get ‘em!