Understanding and Responding to Your Interviewer’s Needs

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In many cases, you’ll interact with multiple people on the way to landing a job offer, and each of them may be looking for something different. Learning to figure out what a given person is looking for and what they will respond to will help you navigate your job search successfully. Keep the following tips in mind to identify and fulfill the needs of your interviewer:

– Know their role. Someone in human resources is on the lookout for different things than a hiring manager. A human resources representative generally isn’t expected to find the perfect candidate, only to provide a range of candidates who might be acceptable. They tend to be focused on passion, specific items listed in the job description, and personality. On the other hand, the hiring manager will be interacting with you directly in an effort to pick the right person. They will be just as interested in your personality and rapport as someone from human resources, but they will also be looking to get a sense of how you work and what your technical skills are.

– Find out the employer’s needs beyond the job description. When you’re asked a question, your answer will give you a chance to ask one back. Use that opportunity to find out what your interviewer needs early in the interview. Ask what their goals are or what targets the person who is hired will need to achieve. Ask about the challenges their department is facing. Ask what the perfect candidate might look like.

– Use what you know. After you’ve figured out what your interviewer needs, you’ll need to customize your answers to highlight how you can provide it. Make sure that every time you answer a question, you’re demonstrating how you’ll give the interviewer what they want.

– Recognize that everyone can be an interviewer. Each person you interact with at the company you’d like to work for, from the receptionist on up, has a chance to form an opinion about you, and you never know which people will be asked to report their impressions of you.

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