After a long and exhausting job hunt—working hard on your resume and cover letters, responding to countless openings—there are probably few greater joys than getting The Call: they want to interview you! Allow yourself to get excited. Be hopeful, even! After all, there are hundreds of candidates vying for that position who don’t even make it this far.
Still, you know as well as we do that the work has just begun. The initial excitement of landing an interview is often followed by nervousness, maybe even panic. We get it; the expectation of making a great first impression is high. But that’s why we’re here! At Optimized Career Solutions, one of our biggest goals is to make you feel empowered.
Most people prepare for interviews by finding the right outfit, practicing their elevator pitch, and Googling answers to those strange curve-ball questions like, “If you could be any animal…” Those are all important things to do, but one big way you can prepare yourself is by understanding where your interviewer is coming from. As former recruiters ourselves, we know just what your interviewer is looking for, and how candidates can engage.
Here are the 4 crucial things that are on every interviewer’s mind:
1) Is this Candidate Qualified?
Don’t assume that your resume has finished the job of convincing your potential future employer that you’re qualified to do the job. Your interviewer knows you have enough relevant experience to call you in to speak in person, but each position is unique. Usually, the job description posted is written by HR professionals who may have missed some of the key challenges of any given role. People in HR don’t always have an in-depth understanding of what problems a certain team encounters day-to-day.
Even if you’ve done extensive research on the company, ask the hiring manager what specifically this role entails and be prepared to offer your previous results and accomplishments as a way to convince them that you are qualified. A great question to ask your interviewer is: What specific challenges or problems does this team face that I can help alleviate?
2) What are the Potential Objections?
You are not perfect, but guess what? No one is! Whether or not your interviewer falls head-over-heels in love with you, every new hire comes with potential risks, or what we prefer to call “Potential Objections.” These may be concerns they have based on something they’ve seen (or haven’t seen) on your resume, so take some time before the interview to be honest with yourself. Think about where you may be lacking and be prepared to talk about it, showing your future employer that you know where your weaknesses lie but that you’re ready to overcome them.
Additionally, you should know that every question that your interviewer asks is a problem that they are looking to solve. They want to know if you can handle X, Y, and Z issues that they are already facing or have faced in the past. We tell our clients to try and answer questions using story-telling, crafting a memorable story from your past work experience and using the results-oriented achievements from your resume to help alleviate their fears or concerns.
3) Is this Candidate a Cultural Fit?
First and foremost, don’t take it personally. Each company and each team has its own work style and flow. Just like you have your own work style and flow. Before your interview, think about how you like to work, and under which conditions you thrive best. For instance, what is your organizational style? What is your preferred method of communication? What kind of management works best for you? Again, be honest with yourself… to what extent are you a team-player?
Employers don’t want you to be unhappy any more than you do. And trust us, you could be saving yourself a lot of heartache later on by being upfront now. Don’t be shy; ask your interviewers what the culture is like, and see ahead of time where you might (or might not) fit.
4) What Will This Candidate Ask Me?
Chances are, they’ve interviewed more than a few people before you for this position, and will interview more than a few people afterward. Your unique personality will shine through during the entire interview, but knowing how to wrap up an interview will ensure that your interviewer is left with a lasting impression.
Most hiring managers will ask, “Do you have any questions for us?” If you’ve had all of your major questions and concerns answered, here are three questions to ask to get yourself to the offer stage:
- Do you feel I have the experience and qualifications to work here?
- Do you think I would be a good fit for the company culture?
- Can you see me working here?
These questions are designed to get a “yes” from your hiring manager and will allow you to confidently and boldly say, “Great! When can I start?”
This is just the beginning, but don’t let that intimidate you. Optimized Career Solutions is here to tell you: You Got This! With our 90 Day Career Coaching, we cover all the bases: 1:1 weekly coaching calls, interview prep, handling salary negotiations, and so much more.
Don’t let opportunities pass you by. Start with a free 30-minute consultation and after that, we’ll be with you every step of the way as you level up your career and reach for the success you deserve.