News Flash! Job Interviews are not about you!


Brought to you by Nathan Asher

So, tell me, why do you want this job? It is an often asked question at job interviews and seemingly the answer is obvious right? Of course you want money, career , job satisfaction and prestige. These are all valid reasons but not what the interviewers want to hear. This seemingly straightforward question is a “loaded” question. How do I know?   Although a Campus Principal now, my academic discipline is human resources and for a number of years I worked in recruitment conducting hundreds, perhaps into the thousands of job interviews.

The reason interviewers don’t want to hear things like “the job will further my career”  or “allow me to use my qualifications” is because (drum roll) job interviews are not about you! Yes that is correct. Job interviews are not about you. So then what are they about? That’s easy.

Job interviews are about what you can do for the company and how you will add value to their team.  If you take this advice on board you will give yourself a much better chance of a successful interview. As an interviewer I find it tedious listening to applicants talk about how the job will further my career, how it will provide me with opportunities and how I’ll be able to apply my skills. Saying these things gives the impression you don’t really care who you work for and often leads the interviewer to conclude you’re just using them as a stepping stone to something better. True you may well be wanting to use the job as a stepping stone but stay right away from implying so.

So what should you say?

When the inevitable question as to why you want the job comes up turn the question around from why you want the job to what you can provide them.  For example:

  1. Your company has a great track record for example you achieved a record profit last year and I feel the skills, qualifications and work ethic I have will help you to achieve your goals; or
  2. I notice your company has expanded overseas and the experiences I have gained (if you have it) will add value to your team and your organisation or;
  3. To work for your company and add value to your team would be a great honour. I notice for example your company contributes funds to help the homeless.

See how the examples use you and yours and less of me  and my. You are demonstrating to the interviewers it is about what you can offer them. Even if the question is not asked don’t be afraid to volunteer the information. Normally at the end of the interview you will be asked  if you have any questions or anything to add. Include the statement at that point.

Notice also the examples about the company. In preparing for this question and the interview in general make sure you also do your research.  The fundamental preparation for any job interview should be to find out about the company you have applied for. I am no longer surprised at the amount of people who don’t do this. They rarely get the job. Finding out can be as easy as a web search or obtaining Annual Reports but if you have been granted an interview ask the contact person if you can obtain more information.  Bear in mind you are also choosing the employer so you want to get it right.

So to sum up:

  1. Take the approach the interview is not about you and your desires it is about what you can bring to the company and the team
  2. Do your research about the company so that you are speaking with knowledge
  3. Use examples of the company’s achievements.

Do this and you will give yourself a better chance of a successful job interview.

This article was brought to you by MQC Campus Director Nathan Asher. Nathan has used his extensive background in Human Resources and Administration to bring you helpful tips and information. If you have any questions or if there is a particular topic you would like Nathan (and other staff) to address in future articles, please let us know by commenting!

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