What advantage do you bring to the conversation when you sit across from an interviewer (or virtually as is the case often nowadays) for a job interview?
This is what you should be asking yourself prior to an interview. If you cannot answer that question in a convincing way then you haven’t prepared yourself for the interview or you shouldn’t be wasting your time sitting the interview.
Knowledge of the job description, understanding of the company's products or services, and knowing the current market dynamics should all be part of your homework prior to participating in any interview process. Only with this preparation are you able to sell yourself in an interview.
But what is the interviewer going to be judging you on?
Well, that will be your Experience. This can include Work Experience in a related industry or field, this could be Leadership Experience in a workplace, this could be Experience dealing with challenging circumstances and overcoming them. All that could be easily related to the company you are applying to.
An interview cannot read your mind, doesn’t know your background in much detail and in many cases may not even know anything about the companies you have worked for. The only way for you to give the interviewer the understanding they need to make a good hiring decision (by good I mean hiring you for the role) is if you can educate them on your Experience and the Advantage they will have when they hire you.
The problem is, most candidates have no idea what relevant Experience they have to the role they are applying to, and more importantly how to present that Experience in a way that will impress the interviewer. Too often we get feedback that candidates weren’t able to “sell themselves” in an interview, or the interviewer said they didn’t have experience in XYZ when we know that they have.
So when you are successful in scheduling an interview, make sure you do your homework, prepare clear answers in advance that show your Experience that matches the situation the company you are interviewing with is likely to be facing. And once you have all this prepared, make sure you practice it. This could mean sitting in front of a mirror and repeating what you have prepared, or recording yourself and watching it afterward, or getting a friend or family member to pretend to be the interviewer. The feedback you will gain from doing this will dramatically improve your chances of success.
Don’t be like the majority of candidates and miss out on sharing the Advantage of your Experience in the next interview!