Job interviews are an exciting but stressful event. Landing one typically results from sending out who knows how many resumes and cover letters, and there is usually stiff competition even after you’ve been asked in to chat.
The internal dialogue begins the moment the appointment is set:
What are they looking for? What are my strengths and weaknesses? Did I say the right thing?
Success in interviews comes from ceasing to worry about finding the right answer and instead focusing on being yourself, and on showing enthusiasm in a believable way.
However, this shouldn’t take away from the fact that an interview is still a try-out. Both sides are judging for fit, and from an employer’s perspective, this partially means trying to figure out what your level of engagement might be.
This is because employers love engaged employees. They tend to be more committed to the company, and because of this, they also tend to be more productive. This is why companies spend so much time and money coming up with and implementing employee engagement strategies.
As a result, demonstrating a propensity to engage with the work you do will help boost your chances of receiving an offer after you’ve interviewed.
This isn’t an easy thing to do, but if you focus on the following, then you should be able to send this message to employers and get yourself hired.
What is employee engagement? It’s often easier to spot its absence, which is why it’s so difficult for employers to really focus on it.
However, we can understand an engaged workforce to be one made up of employees who are:
- Dedicated to the organisation as a whole, including its overall purpose and goals.
- Aware of how their individual role fits into the overall organisation
- Committed to their own personal well-being
This essentially provides us with a guide for what to highlight during an interview so as to demonstrate we’re the right hire. Let’s take a closer look.
Employers are all about productivity. They may say that their interested in helping you find work-life balance, or grow your career, but in the end, they’re most concerned with output, as this is what brings in money and helps the company grow.
However, employers have realised over time that forcing people to work more hours doesn’t necessarily increase output. In fact, it can often have the opposite effect; people burnout and can no longer produce at the same rate.
As a result, employers are looking for people who are willing to go above and beyond on their own, something that only happens when people are committed to and engaged with the company.
So, in your interview, you will want to try and highlight experiences where you did this. Perhaps you could discuss a project you worked on in the past where the team worked late into the hours ordering pizza and watching movies so as to finish by the deadline. Or maybe you could talk about your interest in learning more about the industry outside of work.
In the end, the specific experience isn’t what matters. Instead, it’s important to show you’re the type of person who will go “all in” for something when you feel connected to it. This will separate you from the crowd, which will increase your chances of getting hired.
Part of the Whole
Engaged employees understand how their role fits into the overall company. This is because when we can see what our work is going towards, we find more meaning in our jobs and are willing to work harder.
Demonstrating this in an interview, though, is a bit tricky. Probably the best thing you can do is come armed with a bunch of questions.
As mentioned, an interview is a try-out for both sides. Before going in, you should spend some time reading up on the company and what it does. This will allow you to ask more insightful questions about the role and how it fits into the organisation.
This is critical because it shows employers that you’re not only interested in getting a job. You want to be a part of something larger, which will help you stand out as someone who is more likely to become a more engaged, and therefore more productive, employee.
This last one isn’t one that we normally think about in an interview, but if you’re trying to present yourself as someone who is going to become an engaged employee, then it’s important.
Employers like engagement because it pushes people to work harder without making additional sacrifice. If people work more hours, it’s because they want to; they feel some sort of connection to the work and getting it done.
But they also aren’t going to do so in a way that causes them to forgo other aspects of their life. For example, if you’re working so hard that your relationships or health suffer, then you’re really not going to be of much use to your employers, for this will eventually catch up to you and hinder your ability to do your job.
It’s much better to show you know how to have balance, and this happens by coming to the interview prepared to talk about what you do outside of work.
Having hobbies, and other ways of disconnecting from work, are important, and they demonstrate to employers they are hiring someone who will be committed but who will not be at high risk of overworking themselves and burning out.
Demonstrate Engagement and Be Engaged
It’s hard to stand out in an interview pool. You’ll likely be going up against people with similar background and experience, and this means you need to find other ways to distinguish yourself. Demonstrating your ability to engage with your work by following the tips above will help you achieve this and put you in a better position for landing the job.