By Rebecca Patt, Senior Vice President of Development, Wray Executive Search
For candidates who haven’t been on the job market in a while, it can be confusing as to how to approach an interview. You may be unsure what to talk about and come across as less polished than you could be. If you are feeling disappointed and at a loss because of circumstances with your most recent job, the challenges of getting in a winning mindset for an interview are intensified. Even candidates who are at the top of their game and the hottest thing walking at their current company may not be prepared to ace an interview when a great new opportunity arises.
A couple of simple hints to keep in mind: focus on your achievements and your attitude.
- Achievements: Take the time to write down your professional achievements, focusing on the issues that are key to the position you are interviewing for. Don’t make it hard for the interviewer to draw it out of you. Typical issues to consider:
- How did you make your company money?
- How did you save your company money?
- How did you lead others and build successful teams?
- How did you improve a process or procedure?
And to do so…
- What hurdles did you have to overcome?
- Whose buy-in did you need to get?
- Did your results exceed expectations?
Talk in terms of facts and figures instead of adjectives. Do your homework to find out the company’s values and what the biggest challenges are for the position. Focusing on your contributions to the bottom line and your strategic ideas for the role may hit the right note in some cases. In other situations, the focus is better kept on your team building successes, particularly if you are interviewing for a managerial role. It all depends on the company and the position.
This leads us to the other biggest reason to hire you besides your accomplishments and achievements:
- People generally want to hire upbeat, enthusiastic, personable, confident go-getters who are excited about the company, the job, and the impact they can make. Enthusiasm is contagious.
In the words of musician Yo-Yo Ma, “passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.”
If you simply say you’re a great fit for a job, you could come across as arrogant, foolish, and hokey. Say you’re a great fit because of the things you’ve done that are a good match for the company’s needs and values, and say it with authenticity, energy, and enthusiasm, and you will be off on the right foot to getting the job you desire. Employers are looking for the whole package: a proven track record of achievements and a great attitude.
Rebecca Patt specializes in retained executive search for the restaurant industry with Wray Executive Search. Need to hire an ace executive for your team? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.