As a career consultant, I have helped hundreds of clients craft responses to questions and helped them get offers from the world's largest, most demanding companies. There's a simple process anyone can go through to answer this common interview question. So you, too, can learn the secret of how to respond, "Are you a great match for this role?"
Know Who You're Talking To
Memorizing your answers to the most common interview questions like, "Are you a great match for this role?" isn't a good idea. It will get you into trouble quickly because it doesn't consider that different people will ask you this question. For example, during the interview process, these three people may ask you this question:
- Human resources (or hiring manager)
- Your potential manager
- A department head (or board member)
You must prepare well because each person has requirements for what constitutes a "great match."
The HR personnel is there to filter out the unsuitable candidates who either don't fulfill the job requirements or have some other significant flaw that would cause them to be problematic.
When you have an interview with a manager, they will try to assess whether you can do the job, are a team player, and are a good match for their clientele.
When you have a final interview with a department head or someone higher up in the company, you have already met the requirements and are suitable for the position. Now the focus will be on whether you're an ideal match for the company. Department heads look at you as an investment. They see you as a potential manager in five years.
Monk mode is the perfect way to prep for an interview, with lots of time and space to focus, free of the distractions you face every day.
Do Your Research
It's not enough to just think of your strengths and weaknesses. To answer this question well, the key to any successful interview is methodical research. Ensure you do it long before the interview. There are two levels of analysis to take into account:
- The job
- The company
For the job level, everything you need to know will be in the job description, namely the requirements and responsibilities of the role. Suppose you don't hit the essentials, such as education or experience level. In that case, it is unlikely you will get an offer. So most of your applications should be for positions you already fulfill most, if not all, of the requirements.
The responsibilities are the tasks you will perform in the role. You don't need to have exact experience in them, but you should be able to give good reasons for being able to perform them well.
For example, for a role using SAP, you may have experience with another ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics AX.
While academic experience in the subjects is valuable here, more valuable will be the experience you gained outside of the classroom, either in an internship, paid work, or personal projects. These experiences show you have not only the ability but also the passion for the job.
At the company level, there are three subsections that you must research:
- Background of the company
- Business of the company
- Values of the company
You can find the background information of most large companies on Wikipedia. You should know where the company is from, the CEO, and some basic information about the company's history. In addition, knowing the stock price, annual turnover, or other related information will be invaluable if you're applying for a finance role.
Clients often ask me if they need to know who the CEO is or what the stock price is. While you won't be quizzed on such information, using it will stop you from sounding like you're giving stock answers, as they will be specific to this company. Also, if the CEO's name comes up in the interview, you may lose the job if you ask who that is.
Next is the business of the company. For example, if you apply for a job at BMW, you better know about their cars. Similarly, if you are applying for a consulting firm, you'd better understand their services. It may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised at the number of candidates who go to interviews unable to name a sing product of the company.
Aside from the products and services, research online for projects the company is currently involved with or whether the company has recently laid off staff. This research will give you a good idea of the company's current situation.
Typing the company name into Google News is the best place to do this kind of research.
The final part of the company research is the company's values. To show you are a good fit for this position, you must show that you fit with the company's culture and social values. For example, some companies value creativity, others tradition. Others may be very charitable or investors in sporting or cultural events.
The company website will rarely tell you this type of information. Instead, go to the company's social media pages, where they share the things they value. Try to find some values that you share with the company and make a note of them.
Once your research is complete, it's time to gather your work-related skills, experiences, and qualifications to pair with your new knowledge of the company and job. Think about your personality. Are you an extrovert, an introvert, or an omnivert?
At the job level, ensure you fulfill the requirements and note down the skills, qualifications, or experiences which prove it.
For every responsibility listed on the job description, ensure you have relevant details of either prior experience or adjacent experiences which taught you similar skills.
Use your company research to show how you will fit into the company with the knowledge and experience you have with the company's products. Use your interests to show how you have similar values as the company. For example, if you find a social media post about the company's charity work, note down relevant charity work you have done.
Crafting Your Answer
Now it's time to craft your answer. You should by now have plenty of information about both the job and company and many ways to tie them to yourself.
Resist the temptation to use every piece of information. Doing that will make your answer long and tedious. Instead, pick the top three requirements and responsibilities in the job description and show how you fulfill them.
Next, mention one thing about the company's business side and one point concerning the company's values.
Finally, don't forget to discuss your experience to link them to yourself.
The full answer should be between one and three minutes, and the flow of conversation and the interviewer's reactions should signal an appropriate length.
Preparation for a job interview is vital when creating your best answer, so ask a friend or family member to give you a mock interview. You'll get a chance to craft the ideal answer, and they can tell you of possible red flags or if you have an awkward manner.
Other Interview Tips
A job interview is your last chance to highlight your accomplishments and show you're the best candidate for the job.
A good answer needs to impress and help sell yourself and be honest. Don't be tempted to embellish the truth for your response. Sooner or later, it will come back to haunt you. Instead, rehearse by practicing difficult interview questions beforehand. If they ask about work experience you don't have, learn to pivot.
"Do you have experience deploying programs in Java?"
"I haven't had direct deployment experience in Java, but I spent six years deploying projects written in C++. As Java is heavily dependent on C syntax, many skills will be transferable."
Prepare for Common Interview Questions
Interview preparation is vital before you step inside the recruiter's door or take a phone interview. Here are some of the most common interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself, or what are your favorite hobbies?
- What are your strengths?
- Tell me about a weakness you have.
- What is your dream job or career goals?
- How do you work under pressure?
- What are your salary expectations or salary requirements?
Learn the STAR Method
The star method is a framework to answer competency questions - situational interview questions commonly asked during an interview. Competency questions often focus on teamwork, leadership, and communication skills. For example, "Describe a time you used your communication skills to solve a problem in the workplace."
Be ready for them with the STAR method:
- Situational information - when, where, who, etc.
- Task - what were you doing?
- Action - what did you do?
- Result - the resolution.
Don't Over Practice
Although you need to hone your interview skills by practicing ahead of time your answers to questions like, "Are You a Great Match for this Role?" acing an interview is about more than only interview questions and answers.
Answering mock questions too much will make them sound stiff and rehearsed. To stand out, you also need to sound natural. So know what you will say but allow yourself to say it differently each time you practice.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.