Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Show employers some love: Emphasize what you will give, not what you will get

By Suzanne Stuebe, Associate Director of
Graduate Career Services
Any employer will want to understand how you meet the company’s needs before taking you into consideration. To quote former President Kennedy: Ask not what an employer can do for you—ask what you can do for an employer.

The things employers really want to know about you are:

Why do you want this job?  Do you understand the company and its purpose?  Are you excited about the mission?

Research the company, write down your thoughts, and rehearse them as part of your script. Think of at least two or three reasons this job is a good match for your skills, strengths, experience and background. What can you bring to the company?

Your answer should reflect that you have thought about what you want and have researched the company. The employer does not care if you want to advance your career, make money, or get better benefits. Do not make the answer all about you. They want to know what you are going to do for them. Let them know you are the solution to their problem. Focus on explaining how your skills and abilities will do the best job of making their work lives easier.

Why are you qualified to do the job?  Do you have the necessary hard skills for the position?  Do you have the key soft skills, such as the ability to work well in teams?  

Carefully analyze the job posting to analyze what competencies are required for the position. Make sure you have stories and examples that demonstrate how you have shown these kinds of actions in your current or past roles. Be prepared with plenty of examples that can convince any interviewer that you have "the right stuff."

Are you the right “fit”?

As you prepare for your interview, think about what kinds of qualities and personalities are right for the job. Different jobs require different behavior patterns. Fit is a subjective measure that takes into account your abilities, as well as innate qualities such as sense of humor, capacity to learn quickly, maturity, and confidence.  It's a combination of how the interviewer feels about you and whether you seem like someone who will fit in well and complement the rest of the team.

Suzanne Stuebe is the Associate Director of Graduate Career Services at the Kelley School of Business. Suzanne and her team meet and coach hundreds of students, alumni, and corporate partners on tried and true recruiting methods, interviewing tactics, and career management strategies, while staying in tune to how these areas are changing and evolving. Email Suzanne at

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