You are invited to an interview because your resume showed the prospective employer that your skills fit the open position. What your resume cannot show is how well you fit with the company culture, or for that matter, if your personality gels with the person who will ultimately be your manager.
Is there anything you can do to create fit and chemistry at the interview?
The short answer is no. Chemistry and fit are lightning in a bottle, you can’t fake that zing of connection any more than an interviewer can pinpoint exactly why, given two great candidates with equivalent qualifications, he or she chooses one candidate over another.
You may have read of techniques for increasing chemistry (for example, mirroring an interviewer’s body language or asking questions that convert the interview into more of a conversation than a Q&A). Those approaches might work to build an illusion of chemistry, but that’s all you can achieve. You and the interviewer both know when you have the real thing.
Fit is another equally elusive, if unmistakable, deciding factor in your candidacy that you cannot really control. Until you are onsite with the employer, you won’t know if there is a match of your work style to the company culture. Unlike chemistry, however, at least both you and the interviewer can ask questions to gauge fit. Your interviewer may try to discern if you are adaptable, enthusiastic and team-oriented. You can ask questions to better understand how success is rewarded, how team conflicts are resolved, or how formal the bureaucracy and decision-making processes are.
Ultimately, if you do score the job offer, know that your success was based on more than the bullet points on the resume. Frustratingly uncontrollable though they may be, the elements of fit – attitude, energy, personality – as well as chemistry can be the tipping point in your job search.
Sherri Sacks is a Career Coach for the JCS Career Center. The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment services to help job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment or change their career. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resumes, interview preparation, and connections to employers who are hiring. For more information, call 410-466-9200 or visit jcsbaltimore.org.
Top photo: Resume (Photo by Flazingo Photos, Flickr)
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