Time and again I am asked about job search and interviewing by clients. I find many of these conversations frustrating. People seem to dwell on their own particular set of circumstances, on why they didn’t like their former jobs, and other distracting details. The entire focus should be on what you need to demonstrate to the hiring manager in order to get the job. An interview is not a conversation, it’s not a social meeting, it’s a way to verbally demonstrate and convince the listener that you are perfect for the job at hand.
How can you do this? First, you need to understand what the company needs. This means reading the posting, the job description, and researching the company and the industry. Internalizing what this company will need is your best road to success. How can you solve their problems? Remember it is not about YOU. It is about what they need. It doesn’t mean you cannot have a personality or a point of view, but you must not lose focus. In order to do this you must know yourself. What are your skills, competencies, attributes? How will these fit in with the job offered?
You need to connect the dots. Show how their requirement is met by your skill. How can you show that? You need to have stories about how you were able to solve a similar problem with a former company. Past performance is an indicator of future success. Be ready to tell those stories in depth step by step to clearly demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the job. It’s not really selling yourself as much as describing how capable you are in a given role that is similar enough to the one you want to fill for an employer.
If your resume is a simple list of tasks performed instead of bulleted quantified achievements, you won’t even get to the interview phase. Make sure your resume is telling an interesting story about what you’ve accomplished. Once you do that, the interview becomes an in-depth view of how you were able to achieve those results. And by “view”, I really mean something more like a video that the person interviewing you can relate to. They want to feel that they were in the room while you increased sales by ten percent. Only then will the interviewer begin to believe you and start to make sense of your personal brand.