Interviewers: What Are They Looking For Anyway?

Interviewers - What Are They Looking For Anyway?

Employers want 5 answers from the interview process

  • Can you do the job? (Skills and experience needed to perform the job)
  • Will you do the job? (Motivated to perform the job functions)
  • Will your performance have a positive impact on company goals? (Subjective predictions of future performance… will you be any good at it?)
  • Do you fit in? (Cultural fit)

And if you answer those four questions "Yes"

  •  Are you affordable? (Compensation)

When you answer all five of these questions affirmatively, you have a shot at the position. Other job seekers may pass the criteria, too. Failing to pass any one of these hurdles will result in the employer pursuing other job seekers for the opportunity.

Can you do the job?

This is the threshold question. Anything less than a clear and convincing “yes” to this question results in you being by-passed for the position. Questions in this portion of the interview will be about your technical skills, ability, and knowledge, as well as your transferable skills and possibly your professional values. It is an evaluation of your qualifications for the job and a determination of whether you can actually perform the functions of the position. Emphasize your skills and abilities and match the basic elements needed to perform the job functions.

Will you do the job?

Motivation is pivotal to success in any job position and is a professional quality all hiring executives want to see in a job seeker. The hiring executive needs to know whether the job seeker is motivated to actually perform the job functions to levels required to be successful. This is an area where some hiring executives grumble about younger professionals.

As a job seeker, you must convince the hiring executive that you have the required abilities and are motivated to use them! This is achieved by educating the hiring manager about your passion for the job, work ethic, internal drive, and examples of taking the initiative and going the extra mile. Revealing that you have researched the company, position, and perhaps the hiring executive’s background can also be a reflection of your motivation.

If the hiring decision comes down to two equally qualified candidates, the one that has demonstrated motivation and enthusiasm wins.

Will your performance have a positive impact? 

Here, the hiring executive will attempt to predict your future performance on the job, compare you to others who have been successful in the job, and other job seekers. You may have the necessary skills and be willing to use them, but will your performance have a positive impact and advance company goals? Will you be an improvement from the previous person in the position? Improve team performance, and so on?

This is where competition for the position takes place in the mind of the hiring executive. It’s about proving results and convincing the hiring manager that you can make things better. They want to hire the best!

It is imperative during the interview to stress accomplishments, your history of success, and work ethic. Ask about how you will be measured in the position, position goals, and projects. Then reference your accomplishments to match and exceed expectations.

Do you fit in?

Cultural fit with the organization and personal chemistry with those you will work with is a big deal. Statistically, 60 percent of new hires are based on personal chemistry. Employers tend to hire who they like even when more qualified candidates are available.

Cultural and personal chemistry questions explore likeability, connection, communication, values, interests outside of work, and dress/appearance. When the hiring executive shifts gear into more personal topics, they are assessing your cultural fit and personal chemistry.

For more, read What Kind Of A Company Culture Are You Most Comfortable With?

Are you affordable?

To land an offer, your compensation must fit within the hiring range for the position. The more qualified you are and the more they like you, the more justification exists to move you to the higher end of that salary range.

Sometimes, if your qualifications and cultural fit are strong enough, employers will go beyond the original compensation range to capture extraordinary talent. It does happen, but don’t pursue positions in the hope that the employer will do so. All employers are conscious of budgets and parity issues.

Let’s conclude our discussion with the Strategy for a Successful Interview.

Strategy for a Successful Interview

A successful interview strategy involves four reasonably simple concepts:

Uncovering the employer’s need

  • You achieve this through reading job descriptions, listening, research, and asking probing questions.

Communicating to the employer that you can satisfy that need

  • You achieve this by matching and relating your skills and experience to the needs of the company.

Persuading the employer to hire you

  • You achieve this by emphasizing your past accomplishments and relating those accomplishments to the company’s need. Not only can you do the job, but you can also do it well! Differentiate yourself.

Showing enthusiasm for the position

  • It is proven that top qualified candidates who show enthusiasm for the position are more successful in receiving job offers. Simply put, everyone wants to be wanted and the more you convince an employer you want the job, the more likely you are to get it.

For more on interviewing check out the 50 Top Job Interview Questions And Answers.

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