8 things you need to communicate in every single interview:
My daily Executive Search work offers the opportunity to pre-interview candidates in different roles and career levels. The majority of these being Senior Manager, Director, and VP levels. As the job-market has become more competitive, it’s common to hear candidates falling into traps that undermine their success during the interview process. Communicating your skill set is critical, but to truly stand above your competition, regardless of your career level, don’t lose sight of these 8 simple items. They will make you more memorable to the interviewers, and give you the advantage in the final decision-making process.
1. I have easily transferable experience.
Before you interview, you need to understand and be able to clearly articulate how your prior work experience could be directly transferred to the position you’re looking to get. Discuss any training, coursework, or seminars that you have attended that will positively impact your contribution within the role. Give examples of your experience that speak directly to the requirements of the open position.
2. I’m interested in your company as well as the position.
Even if the solar is considered one single industry, there are endless nuances that make each and every company in the space highly unique. Make sure you do your homework before talking to anyone in the interview process so that you can easily discuss the specific technology, market, and value they’re promoting. Know the latest milestones they’ve hit as a company, and ask questions about their significance on the future development of the company. The work you do in advance will not only help illustrate your confidence and qualifications, but also show them that you’re truly intereted and likely to accept a job offer.
3. I can be flexible.
In the most innovative companies, whether in solar or any breakthrough industry, change is a constant. High growth companies are always challenged with “growing pains” which can affect worker productivity and attrition. These are the most important things for great companies to avoid in order to maintain their fast growth rates. Let them know that you’re adaptable, and embrace change as it comes along rather than being afraid or more comfortable in a status-quo environment.
4. I can Multi-Task.
In today’s fast paced business world, employees must have the ability to multi-task. Along with adaptability, it’s important to let employers know that you can multi-task without breaking down or becoming frustrated. Multi-tasking is something that all growth companies need to look for in their employees. As they take on new challenges in product or markets, let them know that they can count on you to manage a few different types of duties rather than to simply do the duties listed in the job-description.
5. I am full of positive energy.
When employers evaluate candidates, they invariably discuss attitude and energy in addition to qualifications and experience. Being an optomistic person with a great attitude makes you a great co-worker and potential leader. Attitudes, whether positive or negative, are contagious and employers know the benefit that positive, energetic people can have on their peers and the general morale in the office. Most importantly, speak positively about all your prior experiences, managers and companies, and do not yield to the temptation to go negative, even if the interviewer seems to be looking for that kind of response. This is often a test of how you will respond to them if things happen to not work out.
6. I am a team player.
The most important “intangible” quality that employers are looking for is how the candidate approaches their role in the workplace and their “fit” with the culture. Employees that are willing to cooperate with peers and management in the interest of the company rather than trying to stand out by going at things their own way or differentiating themselves by demanding more credit than others can have a negative impact on morale and results. Let the employer know that you are willing to focus on the company goals as part of a team, and willing to share credit and blame for jobs well done.
7. I want to become an expert
Employers love to hear that their applicants are still in “learning mode”. Contrary to the way many applicants define themselves, the emphasis on learning is far more powerful than claiming your full competence and expertise prior to having the opportunity to prove it. This is also an important way to illustrate your focus on being the best you can be, and being someone they can trust to remain with the company for the long haul.
8. I am motivated to do a great job
It’s a sad fact that employers are having a more difficult time finding employees that really want to make a difference. Discuss your accomplishments as if they’re more than the product of your superior intelligence and skill, but due to your high level of motivation and willingness to do more than the role requires. Let them know that they can trust you with important projects and in times of unusual need.
Although these tips seem simple and straightforward on the surface, I find that the majority of candidates fall into a pattern of selling themselves by offering a laundry list of qualifications or experience, or highlighting the things that they’ve already decided will be most important to the employer.
The Bottom Line: Always put your best foot forward and don’t be afraid to let the employer know that you have great intangibles that go beyond what can be put into a resume.
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