Whether you’re shy or outgoing, introverted, or extraverted, interviewing is stressful for everyone. So, it’s totally normal to be nervous. But if you know what do an employer look for in the interview, you can take steps to prepare to feel more confident.
The first step is to remind yourself that you are not coming to beg for work, you have value to offer.
Instead of dwelling on your weaknesses, focus on your strengths. Instead of worrying about how you will perform in the interview, focus on how you can help the organization succeed.
So you have to sit back and think about what is it that I am offering this company that is of tremendous value? That it is of more value than they are going to pay me for? That’s the key ingredient, you have to offer more value than you expect to be paid in return.
This is the base for your preparation. Let’s see what employers look for in an interview.
The interview is an opportunity for the employer to go beyond your resume and get to know you and also it’s a chance for them to answer three essential questions:
The first is your Competence
They want to know whether you can do the job and do it well. So the more you know about the demands of the position, and the more you’ve thought about how your skills match those demands, the better you’ll be able to respond.
And this is what we think the whole interview is about: whether we have the necessary experience, technical skills, and soft skills. But actually, there is more.
The second essential question is Compatibility
It is a question of whether you will be a good fit for the organization. Will you resonate with the company’s culture? Just like people, companies have different “personalities”. Some are hard-driving and competitive, others are more laid back.
Company culture depends on the industry or business sector. In terms of compatibility – an outgoing personality is essential for sales, but less for research. Show the employer that you understand and appreciate their company culture and you will work well within it, if you can’t figure out what it is – ask about it.
And finally there is a question about Chemistry
Whether there is a click between your personality and people who you will be working with? We want to work with people who are friendly, positive, and ethical – so that we enjoy spending a big chunk of our time, day after day. In many cases, chemistry is even more important than competence.
Much of this comes down to being interested in people, even though the interview feels like everyone will judge you, in the end – it is just a conversation, so active listening, eye contact and a warm smile are the techniques you can use all the time.
I believe in doing homework and coming prepared for the conversation, but then there is a secret of changing the focus of your attention. What I mean by that is when you come and you are completely self-focused, you start monitoring yourself, you pay attention to your voice to make sure it sounds solid, or you make sure you are extra agreeable, you are not shaking or turning red – all this impression management takes a tremendous amount of attention and energy. And because we are busy focusing on ourselves we miss the essence of the conversation and go blank when it is our turn to talk or go flat because we have depleted our energy.
The secret is to turn our attention inside out.
Here’s what I mean: You choose where your attention goes. So shift your attention to what’s happening around you. Place your attention on the person you’re talking to, and focus on what they are saying. Really listen. Don’t evaluate or look for a hidden meaning. Just keep yourself focused on their words.
Same thing when you’re speaking. When you talk, immerse yourself in telling your story rather than scanning for mistakes. Keep in mind the value that you bring to this company and how you will help it to succeed.