When you're preparing for a job interview, it's easy to focus on yourself. This is normal, but there's another important piece of the puzzle — the interviewer's perspective. When you understand what the prospective employer needs, you can present yourself as a more compelling candidate.
Anticipate the Employer's Needs
When an employer goes into a job interview, he is thinking about what the company needs. Usually, this goes beyond simply needing someone to fill a job — it often involves other considerations, such as business goals, market conditions or recent company developments. When you can anticipate these needs, you can tailor your answers to fit the employer's motivations. If the previous employee left without warning, for example, the company is probably working short-staffed. In that case, you might emphasize your work experience and use anecdotes that prove you can hit the ground running. This reassures the employer that you can help the team return to full productivity with minimal training.
Interviewers often look for candidates that are friendly and pleasant to be around. After all, a new hire's personality can make or break the team. To that end, make a point to let your true self shine during the job interview. If you're nervous, try adopting a relaxed posture and greeting everyone with a friendly smile — these simple actions can help you feel less stressed. When you answer questions, use personal tidbits to show who you are. Instead of saying, "I helped the team increase sales by 25 percent," you might say, "I think that friendly office relationships build camaraderie and a shared sense of purpose, so I used one-on-one coaching and hosted weekly outings for the team. After six months of this, our sales were up by 25 percent." The second option gives the prospective employer a clear idea of what you can achieve, and it also gives a clearer picture of who you are.
Prepare for Different Interview Styles
Every interviewer has his own style. Some employers prefer a simple question-and-answer job interview format, while others want to see how you would handle specific business situations. You might even find that some hiring managers like to ask bizarre questions or put you in stressful situations to see how you react. If you can adapt to these styles, it's easier to perform well. The key? Preparation. When you're running a practice job interview, ask your mock employer to try different tactics. Give that person the freedom to go off-script or surprise you with unexpected questions. This helps you think about your experience and education from different angles, so you're less likely to be caught off-guard during the actual interview.
A job interview is one of the most important stages of the hiring process. By taking the time to see the employer's perspective, you can give better answers and position yourself as the best possible candidate for the job.
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