The Only Interviewing Tip You Need to Score Your Dream Job

Your Interviewer is Thinking About It — But Are You?

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It’s tempting to think of a job interview as a situation where we get either a failing or passing grade. We get a job offer, or we don’t. The interviewer has something we want: a job, a salary, a career opportunity and if they don’t make us an offer, that must mean we are undeserving, unqualified or lacking in some way.

That’s one way to look at it!

But in my role as business strategist, I advise CEO’s and management teams to look beyond a person’s competencies to get a sense of whether the interviewee’s values actually fit the company’s culture. Of course, the person they hire must be able to do the job but equally importantly, they should show evidence that they fit the company.

What does that mean?

All companies have values, and they may not be the ones prominently displayed on their website! The real values are how people act in everyday work life. How they act creates the culture. Companies discover their values when they ask themselves how their best employees act or how they describe “legendary” employees.

Here some examples of values statements:

  • See, understand, and care about the whole process
  • Eager to learn
  • Take ownership of results
  • Think about the We/Not the I
  • Use data to make decisions
  • Be wildly creative

More and more employers are taking this very seriously and, as an interviewee, you want to take this seriously, too.

It’s like buying shoes. You may love the color, the style and the price, but if the fit isn’t right, you keep looking. So it should be with a job opportunity — the responsibility for assuring fit rests with both interviewer and interviewee.

We all want to work in a situation where we feel good about our work, our colleagues and the culture. We want to feel like we fit it. But not every culture is going to be right for everyone. It’s not a question of passing or failing; it’s a question of a good fit.

So how do you figure out if the company is the right fit for you?

First, don’t be afraid to admit that you are looking for a culture or values fit. Then ask questions. Here are some to get you started:

  • Why do people stay at your company?
  • Why do people leave your company?
  • Can you give me some examples (not necessarily their names) of some of your company’s best employees and what makes them special?

If you want additional examples or clarification from your interviewer, ask! You’ll know from these answers if this is a place you’d feel good in, or not. If the answer is NO, then run — don’t walk!

A bad hiring decision is as expensive for you as it is for an employer. Taking a job in a culture that doesn’t fit wastes your time and when it doesn’t work out (and it won’t), it looks bad on your resume.

So avoid the temptation to fall into a job description that only fits your skill set, and look for a culture that fits who you are as a person. Let me know how it goes!


Looking for more resources to support your career growth? Download a free chapter from Live Large: The Achiever’s Guide to What’s Next HERE.