The Art and Science of Interviewing: Part Two

Last we met (the April 29 edition of Discover Muscatine) part one of a two-part series on job interviewing was the subject discussed. We conclude this two-part series on understanding what the employer/interviewer is expecting.

Everyone who submits an application and/or resume is attempting to answer questions that the employer would ask. Who are you and why would you be an employee that contributes to the success of the business?

Past performance is an indicator of future success.

This statement has been used in many interviewing workshops. I first noticed that sentence in the DDI Interviewing Workshop I attended in the 1990’s.

This statement is quite important to the hiring manager/interviewer. The employer will make comparisons on all applicants. How do you (the applicant/reader of this article) differentiate yourself from the other applicants? You may know you are a good applicant for the position. How have you differentiated yourself from the other applicants based on experience and past performance?

Several traits that an employer will look for is how well you listen, how you deal with ambiguity, and self-initiative (problem-solving). “Interrupters” are identified quickly in the conversation. An interviewer will want to speak between twenty to thirty percent of the interview time. Anything less becomes a warning sign for the interviewer and serves as a formula for comparison to other applicants. In the interview, it is acceptable to ask for a question rephrase if you are uncertain about the question.

Dealing with ambiguity becomes a major issue at work when the boss is not around. Thinking through issues, use of analysis skills, and finally, decision-making, becomes a priority for a hiring manager. The boss wants to know they can rely on you, the employee to make a sound business decision. This is where past performance and experience can help you in getting a job offer. Rehearsing your past experience here prior to the interview will pay dividends. You need to make sure your response is concise and addresses the issue. Your response can save time in the interview and help explain how you would handle a difficult situation. The interviewer will take notice.

Yes, rehearsing is boring and not easy. One does not want to appear over-prepared, yet the experience can set you apart from your competition.

Self-initiative becomes a critical issue when an interviewer compares all applicants. If you are able to present yourself that you look for opportunities to improve the workplace, and then get those opportunities done, shows the interviewer that you have an improvement mindset.

After an interview, I always, send a thank you note. I make it personal. Expressing interest in the position is imperative. I, recently, read on social media that a certain person said that they did not send anything of the sort and questioned why. Sending a thank you note is an opportunity that you can show a caring, detail oriented approach, which may separate you from your competition. Good luck in your job search!