Communication is still the #1 competency

August 12, 2015 by In Blog

How you communicate, what you want to do, why you want to work for this company, why you want to do this function, and why you would be good at it, is still the most essential part of the job interview.

It’s not acceptable to apply for a job in the sales department because you are commercial or in the finance team because you are great with numbers. That’s too general. It’s critical that you know exactly the title and the responsibilities of the function that you are applying for and can articulate them clearly in your job interview.

I was recently doing some career coaching and conducting a ‘practice live interview’ with a junior IT engineer and I asked him, “What is in this job that is most attractive to you?” He responded, “Well, it looks like I would do a lot of varying tasks and responsibilities in networking and IT”. What’s wrong with this answer? He isn’t giving any concrete information. It’s showing me that he hasn’t done his homework, he doesn’t understand specifically the job and he wants a job that has a lot of varying tasks”. However, in this job, we also need someone willing to do repetitive tasks.

Here is a better way to respond:

“I was very attracted to this role because it states that you have an IT architecture which is both using Windows and Linux. I have experience with both of these platforms, specifically with Windows SharePoint and Linux doing a lot of scripting in Perl and Bash. However, I’m open to working on any platform as long as it’s needed for the business. Security is also highlighted and I am particularly interested in deepening my knowledge here. I am currently investigating to become CISSP certified. I also want to work for an organization that values strong documentation, testing and procedures.”

This is giving detail. This response is showing the interviewer 2 things: 1) you read the job description and know the specific duties and tasks and 2) you are giving some more input about your specific preferences and talents.

The key is that you should be able to tell a good friend what job you are applying for and why you are relevant for it. If you can’t communicate this, you may not be understood in your future job interview.

It’s also critical to explain not why you want this job, but why you are good for it. You may think to yourself that this job is going to give you a lot of training and offer you a good package and is close to home. But for your job interview, the interviewer mainly wants to know this, “can you communicate in a professional and concise manner how your skills, experience and education transfer to this job and how you can add value. It’s not a personal issue about being nice and helpful and giving you a job because you really need one. It’s about the recruiter or the hiring manager whose job it is to fill a gap or critical need in the company. How can you learn about that gap and fill it? You can conduct informational interviews, ask questions and network.

Your goal is to communicate how you can solve the companies problem, not your own. This is the case at least in this part of the recruitment process. When you get to the offer phase, you can find out more about if the company will resolve your problem.

Leave a Reply