Your winning CV, glowing credentials, brilliant references and stellar endorsements have impressed, and you find yourself preparing to meet your employer of choice, with a little anxiety and a lot of excitement. Chances are they have a long list of questions to ask you, and very clear expectations of what they would like to hear from you. So what is it that differentiates some candidates from others when the final shortlists arrive? The answer lies in the interview stage.
Employers have done their homework to find you and they expect you to do yours on them too. Candidates who arrive at an interview knowing little about the company and the role are in a poor position to compete with other more prepared professionals who will spend the compressed interview time positioning themselves for the employer’s exact requirements. Employers want to know you are resourceful and knowledgeable. You can learn more about the company by visiting their website or online corporate profile.
Our internal polls have revealed that attitude plays a crucial part in defining character and influencing the final hiring decision. Warning signs of bad attitudes that are sure to alienate a potential employer include badmouthing previous bosses, companies or colleagues; defensive or rudely evasive answers to key interview questions; or overtly aggressive posture and demeanor. In fact, 40 percent of respondents believe that the candidate’s personality and demeanor are among the most in-demand skills by employers today. Remember, managers hire competent people they think they will enjoy working with. Employers are very cognizant that bad attitudes are highly contagious, and will be far from receptive to candidates with less than an exemplary attitude.
Few things can alienate an employer more than a candidate who is lukewarm or disinterested about the company, its brand and objectives. 36% of people in the Middle East believe that passion and desire to make a difference are among the most sought-after skills in the Middle East. The job interview is not the time to doze off and deliver tired answers that smack of boredom with your audience, nor is the time to wax lyrical about how much you genuinely prefer all the competitor brands (many make this mistake, alas!). Employers are looking for nothing less than passion. If you cannot convince the employer that you will be as passionate about their company and line of work as they are you will not be seen to possess the star quality they are looking for, nor will they place trust in your long-term loyalty, stamina or staying power.
The job interview is not the time to practice your evasiveness skills, no matter how experienced you are. Employers can see right through a coined, textbook answer, and dishonest answers are more than likely to backfire and be discerned sooner or later. 40 percent of professional respondents say that honesty is one of the top qualities they look for in candidates. By all means, keep the conversation positive and constructive, and don’t dwell over past failures or negative circumstances or events. Be vigilant that the employer wants someone real – someone they understand and can trust – and that they are likely to keep digging till they are comfortable they really understand who you are and what drives you and what your real strengths and weaknesses are.
Be very precise and articulate when it comes to spelling out what your personal strengths are, why you are competitive and what sets you apart from other applicants. The employer is not a mind reader and your job is to make their life as easy as possible in mapping your key strengths, skills and competencies to the requirements of the job you are discussing. Make a list of all your strengths and find clear examples from your past achievements that demonstrate each of them and which you can be ready to discuss in a professional and concise manner at the interview stage. Not sure about your aptitude in a certain skill or competency? There is a multitude of courses available online which you can take at very affordable prices. That way, employers will see how committed you are to self-improvement and learning new skills, as opposed to other applicants.