This is a topic that has been percolating for a while. It was initially sparked earlier this year when I visited with a teen group that I am mentoring about job hunting and early career management. We were covering job interview skills, and some of them had been game enough to be taped prior to the session and have their responses to mock interview questions be critiqued.
Later on, I happened upon this post (When It Comes Right Down to It, HR Doesn’t Care About Your Problems) by Laurie Ruettimann, a former HR leader turned consultant and author. I nodded my head in agreement as I read her thoughts because I had given a similar message to my impressionable young teens in our session:
“When you are interviewing, the company doesn’t care about you. What they care about is what you can do for them and how you can help them achieve their goals.”
It was refreshing to see the looks of shock on their young faces — they aren’t completely jaded, after all! I also felt a pang of guilt for bursting their bubbles of innocence.
And yet, this is naive thought isn’t held exclusively by the younger members of the workforce. There are plenty of seasoned veterans of the work world who are taken aback when I reveal this truth to them. During the interview phase, job candidates are merely a commodity and the game is to figure out who is going to be most likely to be able to solve the company’s problems and hang around for the longest time doing just that.
Having a good understanding of reality during the interview phase will help you as a candidate because:
1. Knowing what to expect now regarding the company perspective will reduce the chance of being surprised/disappointed later.
2. You can do a better job of presenting the skills and background you have in handling the types of needs the company talks about in the job posting and on their website.
3. You can capitalize on any recent developments that have been talked about in the news by convincingly demonstrating how your experiences would be an asset that could help them move in the direction they are looking to go.
The more you can show HR and the hiring manager that you will be able to make them look good, the more likely they are to keep you around.
Just make sure that you can back up your song and dance with real contributions should they choose to hire you.
Image courtesy of hobvias sudoneighm
Melissa Cooley of The Job Quest, LLC unearths clients’ career examples to showcase the talents and results that make them must-hire candidates. Click here for more information on ways to partner with Melissa for your career success!
Melissa is a contributor to the book Nourish Your Career, has been quoted on Monster.com, The Daily Muse, and Dice.com, has interviewed numerous times for The Voice of Job Seekers podcast, and has written guest posts for multiple job seeker blogs.