Interviewing for Your 'Dream Job'

Ask The Expert

By Barbara Mitchell

Q: I’m getting ready to interview for my dream job, and I’m so excited! Do you have any advice for how to convince the hiring manager how right this job is for me?

A:  Let’s start with what you shouldn’t do: Too many qualified applicants hurt their chances by telling the interviewer that the position they’ve applied for is their “dream job.” While that may be true, most organizations care less about why the job would be the perfect next step for your career and more about how you’re going to help them.

After all, the organization is filling a position that is critical to their success, and the hiring manager is seeking someone with the right skills and abilities to remove a burden from their shoulders. More than anything else, they want to know how you will apply your knowledge and experience to help them achieve their goals.

Most organizations care less about why the job would be the perfect next step for your career and more about how you’re going to help them.

Instead of writing in your cover letter or saying in an interview that this job is perfect for you and your career, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Research the organization and position so that you thoroughly understand their vision, values and challenges. Do your best to comprehend what they are looking for when filling this position.
  2. Know your strengths and skills and match them up to the position requirements.
  3. Determine how you will present your strengths and skills in an interview. The best way to do this is to have stories to share that highlight times when you’ve successfully used one of your strengths. Your examples should be short—no more than four or five sentences—and should highlight the situation, what action you took, and the results of your action.
  4. Practice your examples so that no matter what you’re asked, you can pull a story that showcases one of your strengths from your memory bank. You don’t need to memorize your responses, but be sure you’re comfortable with what you want to convey.

Remember that this isn’t an occasion to be modest—it’s the time to share and to sell your skills, knowledge, and abilities. If this is uncomfortable for you, practicing should help.

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR,The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook and the latest book—The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book. Do you have a question you’d like her to answer in “Ask the Expert”? Send it to [email protected].

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