Demonstrating Interest and the Power of “Why”

We recently completed our fourth Career Conference of 2016 and have our fifth and final Career Conference of 2016 to kick off in less than one month.  An overarching theme for this year is companies are most definitely hiring but the economy is still such where companies can afford to, and will be, selective in their hiring.  This simply means it is even more critical to be well prepared and able to effectively interview.  Of course, interviewing for developmental positions are inherently competitive no matter what kind of economy were are facing.   In our Development & Preparation Program, we discuss three main facets of interviewing;  proving fit, demonstrating interest, and building rapport.   For this blog post, I wanted to discuss the second facet, demonstrating interest.

Companies and recruiters will interview many qualified candidates and often may have a challenging time choosing among candidates solely based on their objective assets and abilities.  This is why they will also evaluate candidates on their interest in the both the opportunity and the company.  Therefore, demonstrating genuine interest during an interview is just as important as proving your ability.  A common mistake in interviews is being shallow with regards to showing interest.  A candidate may say something like “I am interested” but offers no further evidence as to WHY they are interested.  It would be like telling your spouse or significant other that you like or love them but not offering any genuine reasons as to WHY.  Therefore, that statement, while meant to be genuine, will surely ring hollow.  This is where that simple word “why” becomes so critical in interviews.  For example, a candidate may say something like “I really like that in your literature it states you invest over $5m annually in research and development.”  In this case, the candidate has stated WHAT they like about the company but failed to elaborate WHY.  A better answer might be “I really like that in your literature it states you invest over $5m annually in research and development.  That really appeals to me because one of the reasons I’m joining Corporate America is to be in an environment where innovation is paramount to delivering better value to customers and keeping ahead in the market place.  Your investment in R&D demonstrates to me that your company is very committed to delivering new products and value to your customers and I’m excited about the possibility of joining a company like yours.”  Just taking that next step to say WHY you are interested in the company and the opportunity will add depth to your answer and most importantly show that your are genuinely interested.

Rob Davis