There are two ways to approach your job interview. The first is to take on a reactive role and hope that you can answer the questions being thrown at you. The second is to take charge of the conversation and assume the role of a problem solver. Whether you’re brand new to the job market or you’re a seasoned professional in transition, your number one responsibility during your job interview is to explain to the hiring manager how you are going to solve her problem. And what exactly is her problem? It’s simple: she has a position that needs to be filled.
By taking on the approach of a problem solver you’re giving yourself the confidence you need to articulate how you can add value to an organization. You might be the shyest, most introspective person in the world or, conversely, you could be loud and gregarious. No matter the case, if you assume a “let me help you solve your problem” attitude during your interview, you’ll have an enormously positive impact on the individual or panel of individuals trying to determine whether or not to bring you on board.
If you’ve taken the time to prepare for your interview you’ll be empowered to be a problem solver throughout the conversation. If you’ve researched the company, if you’ve thought about questions you’ll be asked, if you’ve thought about questions you would like to ask, and if you’ve thought about how you have overcome certain challenges in the past, you will greatly enhance your confidence level during your interviews.
If you’ve practiced answering questions out loud; if you’ve practiced asking questions out loud and if you’ve practiced demonstrating examples of the work, or schoolwork, or volunteer work you’ve done in the past, you’ll boost your levels of confidence and will definitely carry yourself as the problem solver that you are.
Finally, if you’ve thought very carefully about your principles and any additional qualities that make you unique, and if you’ve practiced describing those principles, you will be adding even more clarity as to why you should be hired. To paraphrase the late, great Stephen R. Covey, principles are those guidelines of human behavior that have been proven over time to have value. Principles are very rarely discussed during job interviews, and because of this, I urge you to talk about them. If you care about what you do; if you’re interested in doing remarkable, ethically sound work; if you’re respectful of others; if you enjoy learning and pushing yourself – these are but a few examples of principles. Take the lead during your interviews and let it be known how your principles drive you and allow you to excel at what you do.
Remember that an interview is an unnatural act. You’re meeting with people you’ve never met before to address topics you don’t normally discuss, and the only thing at stake is the job. It’s an insane scenario, indeed! Because of this, it isn’t worth your while to take on a passive role during your interviews. Even if you have little or no work experience, your hard work ethic and great attitude could help your future employer solve her problem. Or if you’re more seasoned, your many experiences in life bring with them lessons that have taught you how to solve any number of challenges, thus making you a critically important contributor to the growth and success of any organization.