Don’t interview to see whether you fit what the employer wants. Interview to see whether…
John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC
If you’re interviewing for a new position, that might be the question on your mind. It’s a dead end.
We’re not saying that the employer you’re interviewing with doesn’t have an answer. You can be sure there’s an answer. It just won’t be the answer that gives you much insight into whether this job is right for you.
The answer might be a simple recitation of tasks: “Do this. Do that.” Your response is likely to be “Sure, I can do that.” But, is that all there is?
The answer might be a listing of vague characteristics. You think, “That’s me.” Still, you have very little idea what the employer really means.
Is there a better approach? Start with what you want and ask if you’ll get to do that.
Are there engagements you’d like to do or do more of? Are there responsibilities you’d like to have, or have more of? Make a list and carry it with you to your interview. Explain what you want, and why. Ask if you’ll have the opportunity to get that on the job.
This approach gives you two advantages:
- Employers would rather interview someone who has thought about—and can speak articulately about—what’s next. You will stand out as compared to someone who merely asks, “What do you want someone to do?”
- You will get a more real-world view of whether this job is right for you. If you learn that you can get what you want, you’re in a better position to fight to get the job. If you learn that what you want would not be available, aren’t you better off knowing that now than six months or a year after you start that new job?
Smarter interviews—and better jobs—start with knowing what you want and asking for it.