Preparing to Show You're a Good Fit for the Job
The primary purposes of an interview is for the employer to determine if you're a good fit for the job, but what exactly does this mean? The concept of a good fit means you not only possess the education and experience necessary to perform well in the role, but you exhibit the appropriate personality and character traits necessary for fulfilling the job duties as well.
Dependent upon the position for which you're applying, you may need to project strong leadership traits, a team-oriented work ethic, and/or the ability to work with little to no supervision in order to be a strong independent contributor.
Keep in mind that a good fit for the job also means being a good fit for the company. While you may exhibit all of the skills and traits necessary to perform well within the role, whether you'll be a contributing and positive member of a larger organization is also determined during the course of an interview. If you're a good fit for the company, then you'll have the motivation to contribute to the overall success of the organization and a mindset that is appropriate to the corporate culture.
When preparing to interview, you'll want to examine how you fit with both the job and the company. This allows you to sell yourself as the right candidate for the job and as a strong addition to the overall organization. The interviewer will be looking at both aspects of the fit, so you'll need to be prepared to address both as well.
In examining your fit for a job, here are the top questions to consider:
- Do you possess the education necessary for the job?
If the role obviously falls within the scope of your college major, then there can be little doubt that your education is well suited to the job. If you're major in college is not directly related to the position, then you must prepare strategies for addressing this concern with the interviewer.
Determine what aspects of your major will serve you well in your employment look for transferable skills and emphasize those during the interview. For example, if you were an English major and are now interviewing for a sales job, emphasize your supreme grasp of the English language and your ability to make strong verbal and written arguments. This will be beneficial in winning the confidence and business of customers, skills of significant importance in a sales role.
- Do you have the work experience required for the position?
If your work experience is varied, you must be ready to focus the conversation on those areas of your career that are connected to the position for which you're now being considered. By emphasizing work-related learning, you demonstrate you have the knowledge and skill to be a good fit for the job, even if you lack a degree or several years of experience in the field.
Through emphasizing the knowledge you have and skills you possess, you refocus the interview to your strengths rather than your areas of weakness. You additionally show you have the ability to learn and grow if given the opportunity.
- Do you exhibit the character traits that are essential to successful performance of job duties?
Dependent upon the role you're interviewing for, you may need to possess exceptional communication skills, the ability to make persuasive arguments, leadership abilities or a dynamic personality. Some of these character traits will seem apparent based on your work history, but the interviewer will want to confirm them during the interview.
Be prepared to provide specific examples from your work experience that show you've successfully exhibited those character traits important to the role for which you're interviewing. Utilize the SOAR method of structured answers, which emphasizes Situation, Objective, Action, and Results in your response to interview questions. To learn more about interview answer formats see "Zoom-Method for Interview Preparation" included in all Zoom Video Packages.
Don't forget to look at your fit for the company in preparing for the interview and try to anticipate questions focused on determining that fit. Consider the following:
- What is the company's mission or purpose?
Do you exhibit the skills and character traits necessary to contribute to the overall company mission? Examine the company's website as part of your interview preparation. Discover the mission statement or goals published on the site. Formulate SOAR "stories" or examples which you may use as answers in the interview, and which will show your ability to contribute to the achievement of the company's stated goals or mission.
- What is the corporate culture of the organization?
Every organization has its own unique culture. If the overall company culture is pragmatic or highly professional, how well do you fit with that type of environment? Or perhaps the company is more relaxed and creative. Regardless of the company's culture, you'll need to show that you're capable of working within that culture and not being an unhealthy disruption to the business environment.
For example, if the culture is relaxed but driven, are you able to work well within that culture? Do the answers you provide to interview questions point to a rigid personality in which structure is required to drive performance, or do you exhibit the character of a free thinker who excels in a less structured environment?
- What are the company's core values?
Do your homework before interviewing and review the core values of the company. Most companies include their mission statement and core values on their corporate website or within company marketing materials.
Consider how your interview answers depict your own values regarding work performance, customer service, interaction with co-workers, etc. Do your answers support or contradict the values that the company find's important? The better matched your values are with those of the company, the better fit you'll be for the organization.
Preparing for the Interview
In preparing to interview, you'll want to thoroughly investigate the organization and the position for which you'll be considered. Review the company's website and blogs; all the recent job postings; advertising campaigns and promotional materials; and press releases and news stories about the company or its products and services. The more information you're able to review, the better prepared you'll be to show how you're a good fit with the job and the company.