The Interview

Understanding the employer’s perspective

Employers want to hire candidates who understand their organization’s goals and objectives. They want to hire people who offer solutions and contributions. They want you to listen to them, understand them and commit to acting in their best interest. They want you to be focused on the company and its needs, not on yourself.

More offers are extended in an interview when the interviewer talks more than the interviewee. Yes, that’s right. More offers are extended when you get interviewers to share more about themselves and the company rather than when they spend their time listening to you talk about yourself.

How do you get the interviewer to talk about the company rather than drill you with endless questions?

Use bridging questions to prompt feedback and advice. Ask questions that bridge your past accomplishments to the company’s present issues. This encourages the interviewer to share information with you. After your initial response to a question from the interviewer, pose a question of your own that is related.

For example:

Interviewer: "How do you work on a team?"

Interviewee: "Having been involved in many team projects, I’m learning my style varies depending on the environment. For example, there have been times where I’ve assumed a training/mentoring role with team members and still other times when I’ve been very task oriented. I have found I can quickly adapt to the needs of the group. Based on the environment and industry you are in, would you find that being an adaptable team player is important here?"

Additional bridging questions:

  • Is this the kind of information you were looking for?
  • Based on what I have said, how will this experience be of value here?
  • Could you tell me how these skills will be important to this position?
  • Would you like additional details about this experience that may relate to your specific needs?
  • Has this been a challenge for your company/department in the past?
  • What I hear you saying is… do I have that right?
  • What kind of personal attributes are most valued here?

Bridging questions not only open opportunities for interviewers to engage and share perspectives, they also demonstrate good active listening skills.

Employer selection process

Interviewing is like a chess game. It is not the person with the most assets that wins. It is the person who uses his or her assets most skillfully that wins. The reality is that you can be the absolute best candidate for a position and still not get the offer. The way to consistently get the offer is by influencing interviewers to believe that you are the best candidate. Having talent, genius and education is not enough; you have to show the interviewer you have these attributes.

Interviewers base hiring decisions more on how they feel about you than about what you actually say in an interview. It is important to realize that WHAT you say is not the only factor in interviewing well; HOW you present what you say is even more important.