Too many job seekers make the mistake of trying to morph themselves into anything and everything an employer wants during a job interview.
One employer might ask, "Are you passionate about customer service?" Whether or not the answer is truly yes, a desperate job seeker's natural inclination is to reply, "Yes, of course, I love delivering happiness."
It's easy to be a job chameleon during an interview and it could work very well. You could convince them that you're exactly who they have been trying to find to fill the position.
In the long run, however, a desperate job seeker is the key ingredient in the recipe for a bad hire. He or she will start hating their job once the feeling of relief that comes from finally having a steady paycheck starts to fizzle. If you don't factor in your needs and wants when it comes to a job, you're setting yourself up for failure and discontent.
The job interview is a chance to test the waters for not only the interviewer, but also you. The most important thing you can do in an interview is be clear about who you are and what you want to achieve. Here are some tips to showcase your best professional self and land a solid cultural fit for you:
1. Be clear about who you are. You know the question is coming: Tell me about yourself. Be clear and direct, starting with what's most important about you. Well before the interview, it's extremely helpful to write up a short response to this question. Pinpoint exactly who you are professionally and write it down. Your brain can easily fetch those points when asked and you'll appear much more confident.
Make sure you mention both your most recent achievement and your career goals. Sum it up with how you think this role suits you, and what you can do for the company. Keep it short and succinct, and look them in the eye while you tell them.
2. Ask about the company culture. When it's your turn to ask the employers questions, take the opportunity seriously. Ask them detailed questions about the department's vision, work style, and values. Some important questions to ask about the company culture include:
- What do you love about the culture here?
- Could you share any common complaints from employees here?
- How would you describe the culture in a sentence or two?
- How often does your team mix business with pleasure?
Ask several questions and go with your gut to determine whether or not the culture is conducive to reaching and growing your potential. Note body language, like did the interviewer seem kind of elusive or squirm-ish while answering those questions? This article on how to spot a bad company culture can help too. All of this heavy interest in the company's environment will impress the interviewer as well, as long as you convey that you're genuinely interested and looking for the company that would best match your work style.
3. Don't hide anything. Desperate job seekers have a tendency to hide whatever reflects badly on them. Take employment gaps, for instance. If you have gaps in your resume, don't brush it off when it comes up in your interview. Instead, be ready to explain yourself. What were you doing between jobs? What have you learned from those experiences?
Employers are more likely to trust candidates who are transparent. By staying positive and extracting the value out of your experiences, you'll be better off than leaving it up to guess to fill in the holes.
Ritika Trikha is a writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listings, company reviews, salary information, and a free career happiness assessment.