How to show an employer you have what it takes to do the job you’re applying for. As a candidate you’ll appreciate by now that preparation before the interview is absolutely essential. If you have taken time to research and prepare this demonstrates to the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the position and this isn’t just any job. However, this alone is not enough you’ll need to show the employer you have what it take to do the job. So how can you do that?
What does it take to do the job? First you’ll need to understand what and who the employer are looking to hire. The two main documents that will help you do this are the job advert and the job description (JD). These two documents should give you plenty of information to be able to judge the type of person the employer is looking for and who would best fit that job and the skills and competencies required.
This is where the preparation comes in because you’ll start to match your existing skills, knowledge and experience against the points listed in the advert and on the JD. If the organisation have used creative copy for their advert then they are likely to have painted a great picture of the type of person that would best fit their culture. This style of advert is very descriptive about the environment and why someone would like to work for that organisation. This is clever advertising because as well as attracting the candidates that best fit they are indirectly inviting candidates that don’t fit to screening themselves out. If the advert is a cut and paste job (or sometimes called a menu advert) then it will simply be a list of requirements. Either way it’ll help you match your skills to the criteria.
Provide supporting evidence
The best way of proving you can do the job in an interview is to provide “evidence” of when you have done the job or similar tasks in the past.
“Past behaviour is a good indicator of future behaviour.”
That’s the theory behind behavioural competencies. Interviewers are constantly probing for “evidence” (which is a fancy word for information) to satisfy them that you can do the job. When we refer to “evidence” we are talking about the various indicators (positive and/or negative) that make up each behavioural competency.
Let’s look at one behavioural competency – customer service. There are many indicators associated with this one competency and these can be very different depending on the job, the company and so on. However, this will give you some idea of how you are assessed against this competency.
- Listens and builds an understanding of the customer requirements
- Responds to the customers with respect, courtesy, consideration and professionalism.
- Aims to exceed customer expectations
- Keeps in contact regularly by different methods of communication and meetings
- Keeps up to date with client intelligence by gathering news, data and information to enable proactive support
- Continuously improves the service or product on offer to meet the changing needs and requirements of the customer and meeting the objectives of the business.
Recruiters are always advising candidates to make sure they provide specific examples. Here’s a very simple test to check whether you are keeping your example specific. If you use words like “generally” or “usually” or “normally” or “would” this may indicate that you are no longer referring to the specific event and have started generalising. Stick to the specific details of the story, as you’ll naturally provide more evidence.
It’s your responsibility in the interview to demonstrate you can do the job. Make it easy for the interviewer by showing the links between what you are capable of doing and how this relates to the job requirements. Make a list of all the tasks you do well in your current job. Make a list of the behavioural competencies you consider your strengths (customer orientation, building relationships, team work, planning and organising etc.) and make the link to the requirements of the job you are applying.
Ask yourself what you do well and with enthusiasm and passion. Break down these tasks or projects that you like to do and do well and there you have your transferrable skills. For example, “I’m good at interviewing candidates.” This is a little narrow in terms of the potential job matches.
However, let’s look at all the potential skills required to interview candidates. Interviewing is a form of understanding a person’s capability or assessing their skills, knowledge or behavioural competencies or may be even their strengths or weaknesses. It’s also about gathering information to make a decision. Now look how these transferrable skills could match a much wider range of jobs – career coaching, training and development, an assessor role or a job involving investigation or inspection. Interviewing skills could take you in all sorts of directions – UKBA, Police Force, MI5 and so on.
You can also fall back on your education, especially if it has given you training or knowledge that will help in a particular position. A Master of Business Administration degree, for example, is applicable to a number of different careers. Even if you specialized in something like business process innovation or health care management, your degree is useful when pursuing alternative careers. Look at the courses that you completed while earning your degree to see if they are relevant to the position and don’t be afraid to stress these skills to the hiring manager during your interview.
If you’ve read my previous blogs then you’ll know how important motivation is these days to employers. You must be able to demonstrate you are keen and enthusiastic about the job and the organisation and explain your reasons for being keen and enthusiastic. If you are genuinely interested in the sector or industry then showing you want to work at that company should be a breeze. Keeping up to date with the latest trends, news and changes are just one way of proving you are motivated.
I read an article recently on LinkedIn asking whether managers could truly motivate people. The debate was very interesting and there were many conflicting answers. Regardless whether managers are capable of motivating their team or not – the easier option by far surely is to hire people that are already motivated and career orientated. It certainly makes managing that member of staff a whole lot easier. Managers don’t want to struggle to get people to perform and meet objectives.
We truly hope this helps you get your next dream job and would love to hear your story!!
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