Identifying Employer Wants and Needs
Congratulations, job seeker! You attended several resume seminars and had your resume proofed by eight different counselors that were all in agreement; you are a genius with a targeted resume for every occasion. Your confidence is at an all-time high as requests for interviews explode. You gave the employer what they needed to determine you deserved an interview. Now give the employer what they want to determine if you’re right for the job.
You wanted an interview and you got it! Now you need to prepare so that you can demonstrate how well you fit the company’s needs.
Company research is key. There is no doubt you will be asked, “What do you know about this company?” The mission, vision, values and code of ethics say a lot about a company’s expectations, culture, accomplishments and future goals. If you can’t answer simple questions about a company’s background it may be considered insulting.
Have you read your own resume? You would be surprised how many job seekers don’t! When you don’t familiarize yourself with your own background, you fail. The employer may assume you are a fraud and a waste of precious time. Even if someone created the resume for you, you are still responsible for being able to speak effectively regarding past employment.
Job specific skills speak directly to an employer’s needs, so be direct. Review the actual job description and be able to compare yourself to all essential functions point by point when asked. Become familiar with O*NET which offers lengthy summaries of knowledge, skills, and abilities based on job titles. It is said that if you can’t describe your skills, the employer will assume you don’t have any!
Use numbers to highlight accomplishments. Employers need to know that you know your strengths and how they relate to employer needs. Your ability to quantify and show value through accomplishments will make you stand out from the crowd.
Have your own questions ready to go when the opportunity presents itself, and remember that you don’t have to wait until the end of the interview. Work them in from start to finish. Be aware that it is inappropriate to ask anything having to do with benefits of any kind including salary, vacation and sick time.
If, by chance, any of these tips are unfamiliar, consider attending an Interviewing workshop.
Employers expect some level of nervousness during the interview. However, none will accept lack of preparation. They need to see the professional you talked about in your resume — because they really want to hire you. You just need to give them a reason!
Frieda Carmouche is a member of the Regional Navigator team specializing in training, educating and assisting employers, and career center staff throughout the Gulf Coast with community resources, outreach events and technical support in assisting job seekers with disabilities. A native Houstonian with a love of training and development, Frieda has been employed by Workforce Solutions for over 16 years.