Ask Matt: Focus on the job and the company, not your needs

  • Article by: MATT KRUMRIE
  • December 17, 2013 - 9:29 AM

Dear Matt: As a recruiter, I see job seekers who just don’t prepare the right way for an interview. So many focus on their needs and not the job/company they are interviewing for. Can you remind everyone what a difference that makes?

Matt says: The next time you head to a job interview, think about this: Are you simply looking to leave your current situation or do you truly want this new job with the company you are interviewing with?

There is a difference — and recruiters can tell, says Tim Mayer, a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist with Mortenson Construction ( Red flags may pop up when a job seeker focuses solely on why they want to leave their current job, their desire for a better work-life balance, or how they want a shorter commute.

“Most people value work-life balance and it is something we strive for at Mortenson,” says Mayer. “I do think these items are OK to mention and discuss if they come up organically during the course of the interview. However, if a candidate leads with this or stresses it early in the interview it can be a red flag that you are more interested in leaving your current situation than joining our company.”

During an interview, clearly outline how your skills, experience and personality can be a fit for that particular company. Don’t focus on your needs — focus on how your skills can be an asset to the company.

Mayer says those who stand out at Mortensen exhibit the following traits during the interview process:

• A demonstrated understanding of the business.

• The ability to articulate why you are interested in the company and the open position.

• The ability to provide specific examples exhibiting the traits, values and skills/experiences the company requires and desires.

• Preparing and asking appropriate questions related to the job and company.

Job seekers know it’s important to research a company before an interview, but Mayer points out that “this is more than spending five minutes on a company website and being able to recite a few facts, dates and numbers. People should spend some real time learning what we do, what we value and why we are the organization where you want to work.”

When a candidate is able to demonstrate more than a surface level knowledge of a company and their business, it can help separate this person from other candidates, says Mayer. Use the interview to convince employers you truly want to be a part of that company and want to grow and succeed within that role and organization.

“Our goal is to bring the best people on board,” says Mayer, “and a great way to exhibit this is by being well prepared for the interview.”

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