Have you ever bombed an interview for a job you really wanted? I have. It was quite embarrassing, actually.
I walked into this interview thinking I was a great candidate. It was the perfect role for me. I had all the credentials and the company looked like the kind of place I wanted to work. In fact, I spent all my prep time focusing on why the company would be great for me, instead of why I would be great for the company.
In the interview, that’s all I talked about. I told them I understood their product and that I was enthusiastic about helping them get results.
This is how I approached all my interviews during my first couple years after university. I thought employers wanted to hire the best people and that’s why they’d be focused on me.
But an interview isn’t just about you. It’s a two-way dialogue, where both sides are being evaluated.
If you want to be successful in your interviews, you have to know where you can impact the company. Do your research. Demonstrate your knowledge of the market and how it’s affecting the company. What problems can you solve? What challenges might they face in the future?
Position yourself as a solution, and not just a resource. There are numerous candidates out there with the same kind of experience and the same ambitions. You need to put yourself ahead of the pack.
Often, I hear from candidates that they’ll only ask a couple of routine questions during an interview pertaining to team size, advancement and salary. While important, a little ingenuity can really set you apart.
Think about questions that other candidates may not ask. You always think outside the box? Prove it, and you’ll put yourself ahead of the rest.
Julie Tyios is the marketing manager and chief matchmaker at Vestiigo.com, a career destination for young professionals. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.