The people who turn job interviews into job offers are able to identify and discuss the recurrent problems that lurk at the heart of their work. These people are seen to "get" the job in ways that other candidates don't.
Think about the problems that plague every accounts-receivable job: If the ongoing challenges associated with getting customers to pay their bills aren't addressed effectively, what happens? Ultimately, that employer isn't able to make payroll and everyone gets laid off.
Consequently, an accounts-receivable professional who addresses problems that are at the heart of his or her job will always be seen as superior to other candidates.
Here are some key points to remember when going into an interview:
Everyone gets hired to do the same job.
When you cut to the core of any job, it's easy to see it exists to identify, prevent and solve problems. Whenever you get a new job, you are being hired for your ability to prevent problems within your area of professional responsibility, and to solve them expeditiously.
So to turn your job interviews into job offers, think of your job in terms of the problems you are there to prevent and the problems you are there to solve, and you have isolated the areas of concern that every interviewer really wants to talk about.
Interviewers hate to interview.
Hiring managers hate to interview, and invariably see conducting job interviews as a distraction from their real work, something that can be used to your advantage. Whenever, you walk into a job interview, that interviewer is secretly hoping that you are the one to hire. All you have to do is make it easy for them, by showing that you "get" the job and that you relish dealing with the issues (problems and challenges) that lie at that job's heart.
How to show that you 'get' the job.
Your interview prep should identify the typical problems that your job exists to solve, and you should develop examples of how you solve such problems and prevent them from arising in the first place.
- ID problems that you typically face in your job and unusual problems that required special efforts.
- Isolate relevant background information and the special knowledge or education applied to tackle each of these challenges.
- ID the "technical" skills and professional behaviors that you employed to solve each problem.
- Recall how you thought through the issues related to each situation, your plan of attack and ultimate solution.
- Quantify the results of your solution in terms of your contribution to the team and, if possible, in terms of money earned, and money or time saved.
- ID the ways you execute each aspect of your job to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.
Use questions to sell your capabilities.
Prepare for job interviews as I suggest, and you are armed to talk about the very core of the job you are pursuing. You can use this knowledge and your examples of problem resolution to illustrate answers to tough questions, and to ask your own questions about the issues that lie at the heart of your work.
You transfer that confidence in your competence to recruiters and hiring managers as much by the questions you ask, as the answers you give. Because when you ask questions that go to the very essence of your work, you demonstrate a degree of understanding that most other candidates will never approach.
Ask about the projects with which you'll be involved in the early months, and the challenges you know those projects will present every day. When you show yourself to be someone who "gets" the very core of that job and can handle the problems that it serves up everyday, you are much closer to turning that interview into a job offer. Plus, you will have gathered the insights necessary to give answers more carefully tailored to the employer's immediate concerns.
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