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Thou Shalt Not (Part 2 of 2)

by Tom Wolfe, Career Coach and Contributing Editor

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7. The Seventh Commandment: Thou shalt not lack an understanding of interviewing empathy.
The Fourth Commandment requires you to have a strong idea of what you bring to the table, what you care about and what really matters to you. You are searching for a job that will satisfy all of your needs and maybe even a few of your wants (no, they are not the same). You must keep all that in mind as you search for the right job.


However, you must also keep in mind what matters to the company with which you are interviewing and, more important, what matters to the interviewer. Knowing this in advance and keeping it in mind as you interview will allow you to tailor your questions and your answers to hit the interviewer’s hot buttons, thereby demonstrating a sensitivity to the interviewer’s needs and also enhancing the chances of a developing a personal connection.


This is called interviewing empathy and it will help you convert the interviewer into your advocate. Here is the simple version: Tell the interviewer exactly what he or she wants to hear, as long as it also happens to be the truth!

8. The Eighth Commandment: Thou shalt not fail to show interest.
Some people think that the purpose of an interview is to see if the candidate is qualified for the job. That is generally not the case, especially if the interviewer has access to the resume in advance. The fact that you are in the interview means you have already been deemed qualified.


Conversely, one could argue that if your resume does match up nicely with the job requirements, then why even have the interview? The company could save a lot of time and money by simply offering you the job sight-unseen. But that’s a disaster in the making. The interview provides so much more. It allows the interviewer to add the human dimension to the resume. Your style, personality and attitude all come into play. It’s also a chance for you to get a feel for the company. You learn more about the job, the opportunity and the people who work there.


But there is more. No matter how qualified you may be, no matter how well the job stacks up against your requirements and no matter how well you are received on an interpersonal level, you will fail the interview unless there is no doubt whatsoever in the mind of the interviewer that you are also sincerely interested in the job. You can control this indirectly through your body language, overt enthusiasm and by asking great questions. You can also take the direct approach - come right out and say the words I am very interested in pursuing this opportunity or I hope I have interviewed will enough today to receive an offer or I want this job; offer it to me and I will accept. Yes, those are forward and bold statements, but, assuming they are truthful, think about their power. What have you got to lose? In the end, you might be rejected, but it will not be because they questioned your level of interest.


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