Interview Performance Improvement: Know What’s Important to Your Targeted Employers

You have an interview next week.  Wouldn’t it be helpful to know what is important to the hiring organization? How they expect their employees to behave and perform?  By doing your research using three critical resources, you will be a better informed candidate and your interview performance will improve.

Research the Organization Online

Mission Statement – Begin your research with the organization’s website.  Many organizations have a mission statement.  A mission statement communicates the purpose of an organization – why it exists and what is important to that organization.  It may include the organization’s goals, values, and expected behaviors.

Do deeper research accessing OneSource from the RightEverywhere® home page.  How does the target organization’s mission statement compare to mission statements of the competition?  This may be helpful in identifying which organizations are a match for your specific competencies and values.  Companies often evaluate individual and team performance against the mission statement.  Prepare interview success stories in a Challenge-Action-Result (CAR) format that parlays how your past experience is in sync with the mission statement.  Past performance is a strong indicator of future success.

Core Organizational Competencies or Values – Organizations often reference core competencies that support the mission statement.  Core competencies likely include a list of values, skills, and behaviors. Competencies that frequently surface are:  teamwork, innovation, customer service, and flexibility.  Make note of the descriptions of these competencies or values.  Teamwork may include behaviors such as “demonstrates respect for the opinions of others, places the interests of the team above self-interest,” etc.  Often these are included in a performance management program and are part of how the organization evaluates individual and team performance.  Again, prepare Challenge-Action-Result success stories that demonstrate those that are among  the competencies you bring to the table.

Analyze the Job Description

Typically, you interview for a specific position that is posted on an organization’s website or on a job posting site.  The position description usually lists responsibilities or accountabilities, knowledge, skills, abilities, and goals.  Again, prepare CAR success stories that indicate to the interviewer you have the requisite knowledge, can accomplish needed accountabilities, demonstrate the job-required competencies, and have a history of meeting or exceeding similar goals.  Think of the circumstances that existed when you were successful.  When you met or exceeded goals did you do so against a “stretch” objective or despite a challenging environment or a lack of resources?  Capture any accolades from your clients, customers, managers, or peers as they relate to your performance.  All of this information will be helpful as you position yourself as competent to perform the job.

Also, during the interview ask strategic questions about the position and the hiring manager’s performance expectations.  “If I was hired for this position and I was successful, what might we be discussing during my first performance evaluation?” or “How does this organization reward great performance?”.

Research through Networking

As you move through Right Management’s career services, you will be reminded of the importance of networking.  Our candidates report that networking offers the highest return on their time investment during a job search.  Networking is for more than just generating job leads, however. It’s also a valuable means of interview preparation.

Through your networking activity, determine what the target organization holds as sacred.  Does it walk the talk of its mission statement?  Does it have core organizational competencies?  Does it evaluate performance mainly by achievement against yearly goals and objectives?   This is key information as you anticipate how your performance will eventually be evaluated.  This will help you prepare messages for interviews that impart how your unique competencies and experience will be a strong fit for the organization.

In conclusion, research is imperative to understanding what a company values from an organizational perspective as well as how it evaluates individual and team performance.

  1. Find and review the organizational mission statement.
  2. Note how the mission statements of the competition are similar or different.
  3. Understand the organizational competencies and the expectations captured in the job description.
  4. Network to validate the organizational culture and the performance management process.
  5. Prepare CAR success stories that impart your unique knowledge, abilities, skills, experience, and values and how they align with the organization.

By researching and speaking to these factors, you will position yourself as a candidate who is a strong fit for an organization’s mission and culture, who has performed well in the past, and who will perform well in the new position.

By: Mary Pellak