It seems to me that the most difficult thing in all job search processes is to find out what distinguishes us, what enables us to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and what will be most appreciated by the employer. Candidates in a selection process should be aware that they are competing with other professionals who have as much or more talent than they do. Candidates must also realise that their chances in a selection process directly depend on the other professionals in the running.
Is it possible, therefore, to elaborate a discourse that will help increase our chances of success? Or, to put it another way, can you find arguments which are more likely to convince your recruiter that you are better than your competitors?
In my opinion, yes, it is possible. But only when the candidate is willing to make the extra effort to understand the type of solution the specific employer company is seeking. One of the main messages that career advisors send out: investigate the company as a way of demonstrating motivation. I would also add: look for specific information about the company that will enable you to identify its broad goals and the qualities and team that will help reach them.
First, I would look into the company’s trajectory over recent years. Is it showing a growth curve or, on the contrary, has it just gone through a difficult period? I would try to discern the challenges it is facing, not just as a company alone, but as part of a sector or a market. Having information about the goals of the company can constitute a big advantage by helping you understand where the company wants to be in the future. And, who knows? It may be a place that you have experience with in your professional career. Wouldn’t that be interesting to highlight in an interview?
I also recommend carefully studying everything that has to do with the culture, mission, vision and values of the company. This information can often be found on the company’s own Web site and is a kind of DNA, offering valuable clues about what type of professional is the best fit for the organization. Values like these are not only the thing of legends; if a company asks for “enthusiastic people with integrity” or describes itself as “people centered” or “challenge-seeking”, pay attention.
I strongly suggest speaking with professionals who work or have worked inside the company you are interested in, in order to better understand what you are up against. Imagine, for a moment, that before even entering the interview, you know the milestones the company is facing (international expansion, digital transformation, the optimisation of organisational processes, etc.) and the functional areas that are experiencing growth. Moreover, you have an understanding of the professional profile that is the best fit for the company. Don’t you think that all of this information could prove useful to you when it comes to your interview performance?
Originally published in Equipos & Talento, March 2016.