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A shift in perspective – how to approach the interview from the other side

Interview time is limited – for both the interviewer and the candidate – so being intentional with that time is essential.

When talking with someone about a topic you know well, it can be easy to ramble on about all that you know and everything that excites you about it. But what matters most? What does your listener actually care about? What impression are you giving that person about yourself or your organization?

For the candidates…

Too many times, people will prepare for interviews by jotting down their most impressive experiences to fire back at the interviewer when common questions are asked. By doing so, the candidates are guessing what might be important to the interviewers by expressing what they personally think is most impactful about the things they've done.

While thinking this way is not necessarily wrong, there is a better way to proceed. What if candidates prepared by considering the employer’s perspective:

  • What do I know about this organization and position?

  • What does this organization need from someone in this position?

  • What experience do I have that would be relevant for this role?

  • What have I accomplished that would matter most to them?

This simple shift in perspective can result in clearer, more precise answers that specifically apply to the company and position at hand. While it might be nice that you did something amazing at a previous organization, if this organization will not benefit from that accomplishment, it might not be the most relevant thing to share during the precious and limited interview time. Candidates need to consider what the company is looking for and showcase their experiences and accolades that align with the company’s needs and goals.

For the interviewers…

On the flipside, interviewers are the face of the organization during an interview. While the top priority is certainly to find the right person for the position, it is also important to take that opportunity to promote the culture and accomplishments of the organization. Interviews are opportunities to portray the company in a positive way with qualified people in the industry.

Even if the interview process does not move forward, candidates should walk away from the interview with a positive view of the company and the people. Take time in the interview to represent the company’s culture and values effectively. Answer the candidates’ questions and dig beyond the surface to add true value. Remember, an interviewer’s questions and behavior can leave lasting impressions on candidates – for better or for worse.

And so…

Remember, an interview does not have to be over-complicated or intimidating. It's simply two (or more) people trying to decide whether they should invest more of their time to move forward in the process together. Interviewers want to make an educated decision about whether to pursue the candidate, and candidates want to make an educated decision about whether the opportunity is right for them. It really is that simple. So, prepare, be intentional with your time, and represent yourself or your company effectively.


For more information on how to make every minute of every interview count, reach out to Heather Hockenberry at or 717-207-9538.

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