Recently, while gathering job requirements for a client, the client told me about an experience he had with a software engineering candidate interview. Based on the candidate’s technical skills and experience, the candidate looked like a good potential match and someone who could come in and add immediate value to the client’s business.
During the interview, the candidate made it his goal to demonstrate to the interviewer the value he could bring to this company. This is not a bad goal. As I’ve said before, ultimately what any employer wants from an employee is someone who significantly contributes to the goals of that company, including increasing profitability through a) improvements in efficiency, and b) a decrease in wasted time and effort.
Though the candidate did well for most of the interview, on this one point he fell short. Unfortunately, he came across as someone pointing out to the client all the ways the client was doing things wrong. The candidate was apparently well-intended—but unfortunately, he lost on execution. As the client stated, “We know that we’re not perfect, but the last thing we want in an interview is for someone to come in and point out to us how everything we are doing is being done incorrectly.” Oddly, this was the second time in two weeks that I had heard this complaint—from two different companies about two different job-seekers.
So what’s the best way to demonstrate your potential value without offending your prospective employer? Simple. Let your past accomplishments speak for themselves, and the interviewer will connect the dots and realize how he or she could similarly reap those types of benefits in their own company. Be liberal in demonstrating how you improved efficiencies while working for ABC Corporation and how you decreased time-to-production in XYZ Company. They’ll make the connection on their own and be eager to realize some of those improvements in their own departments.
Demonstrating the value you can bring to a company is one of your primary goals for the job interview. You’ve done your homework, you have a good sense of what they probably need, and now the trick is to communicate that in such a way that you don’t offend or insult your prospective employer. Follow the steps above and you’ll maximize your chances of making a positive impression as someone who can add value to their business.
As always, we at Stout Systems are interested in hearing how your job search is going. Feel free to drop us an email at email@example.com.