Professional woman sitting

You have the interview, finally your chance to shine. You know the sector, the competition, the company and the role, you’ve done your homework and you’re prepared. In fact even if you were sitting in the black chair and Magnus Magnusson was asking the questions you would feel comfortable. Facts and figures are floating around just waiting to be delivered as soon as the right question is asked; you could recite it all in your sleep and given half a chance you would and there lies the problem!

In the health and fitness industry, when we were looking at membership retention we had a saying that we tried to get across to all employees, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” There is no point in having all the information, if you’re not prepared to actively engage with people.

The same applies in an interview situation. You are there because they believe you could be the solution to their problem. So help them resolve it – they want to feel that they can work with you – and that means you need to engage with them, not simply give answers. An interview is a two way dialogue, so you need to ask questions throughout. Don’t leave it until the end when you might not get the chance. Each question should deliver on at least one of three points.

1. To demonstrate that you have either the skill, knowledge or expertise in relation to what they are looking for.

2. To lead the conversation into an area where you believe you can provide added value.

3. To get a better understanding of where the hiring manager’s priorities lie, so that you can focus on those areas.

So give yourself a chance to establish if you are a good fit for them and if they are a good fit for you. Treat it as a business meeting rather than an interview and you will generally be more effective. Remember, you are there to secure the role, not to eulogise about your specialist subject.