In an increasingly competitive and challenging job climate, it’s very important to differentiate yourself from other equally qualified candidates. Even an incredible record of achievement might not be enough to help you get a job these days. You need to show your prospective employer how your experience and training align with the goals and objectives of the organization.
Ask not what the organization can do for you…
Before you go for the job interview, do as much research about the company as you can. Go beyond the job description and determine how you can become a meaningful contributor.
- Learn about the organization’s values, mission statement and guiding vision.
- Research any ongoing stalled projects and figure out ways to get it unstuck.
- Investigate a problem they’re trying to solve and come up with a solution.
Your key objective at the interview (outside of landing the job) is figuring out how you can add value to the department, division, and organization.
Play for the name on the front of the shirt and they will remember name on the back of the shirt.
Typical Interview Questions
Imagine that you’re applying for a VP, Innovation role for a large corporation. Think about some common interview questions that you’ve been asked in the past and frame them in terms of how you can add value to the organization. Here are some answers to typical interview questions keeping the company front and center.
Tell me about yourself.
I currently work as a Learning and Development Director. Here I manage the Learning and Development program for the companies 10000 employees. While I really enjoyed all of the aspects of this role, I would like to move my career forward in a leadership role. The VP Innovation role sounds like the perfect culmination of my past experiences and current skill set. I know it would present the type of challenge that I’m looking for at this stage in my career, specifically as it relates to putting your organization on the map as a leader in innovation.
What is your greatest strength?
Name one of your weaknesses.
My greatest weakness has always been my reluctance to delegate. Early in my career, this was borne out of a desire to prove myself at all costs. As my area of responsibility grew, this was a result of a poor use of resources. I’ve learned that effective delegation adds value to the company by balancing workload, increasing efficiency and building stronger teams allowing everyone to remain mission oriented.
Why should we hire you?
I think what sets me apart from other candidates is my ability to combine my professional experience with my people skills. Strong working relationships are very important to me and I actively seek to engage all stakeholders. Research has shown that companies that innovate are able to hold onto a greater share of the market for a longer time that competitors. Once you know how to find exactly what it is they need, you can more effectively engage your stakeholders. In an increasingly competitive climate, all stakeholders need to innovate and that is the service we want to provide them. For these reasons, I am confident that I can help your organization achieve its purpose of creating a culture of innovation among employees.
To recap, you want to present yourself as someone who will contribute to the success of the company.
- Show them that you know about their organization. Taking the time to research who they are as a company and what they stand for goes a long way in the eyes of a potential employer. Be sure to tie the vision statement, mission statement and company goals back to the job interview in a meaningful and sincere way.
- Align yourself with company objectives. Make the interview about them.
- Show how you can be an asset in the fulfillment of their goals. For example, show them how your strong communication engagement skills attract more customers to the company. BONUS – Do you have stats to back it up from previous roles?
If you take the time to learn about the company and align yourself with their vision, mission, and organizational goals, they will more readily see you as the asset that you already know you are.