Let’s say, you’re in the market for a new position and identify a great job opportunity that you’re excited about. You go through the motions and are asked to interview. You have prepared all weekend and are ready for any question regarding your professional background or skillset. Once in the interview, everything seems to flow smoothly until halfway through the interview the hiring authority you are speaking with decides to switch gears and asks you one of the most dreaded questions candidates must face….”so, tell me about yourself”. And while this might be where some candidates panic, you know you are well prepared to spin this into an opportunity to demonstrate how you believe you are a strong culture fit for the organization.
One of the most common interview missteps take place toward the end of an interview. When the attention turns from questions about a candidate’s specific experience and skillset to those geared toward identifying whether they are a good culture fit for the organization, even the most experienced candidates can fall into the trap of “so, tell me about yourself”. Fortunately, like all other interview questions, there are steps candidates can take to better demonstrate that they are a strong culture fit for the organization when asked about themselves:
- Do your research. Of course, doing research before any interview is crucial. Company websites give a great sense of what that organization stands for. Is philanthropy important to them or do they have more of a focus on research and technology? Or does this organization share stories about their employees on their page? If so, what is the common theme and how can you relate to it? Do they emphasize philanthropy? No matter what you find, identify which aspects of the company’s culture you can relate to and prepare anecdotes for the interview.
- Remember the universal traits of a desirable employee. Most employers often look for several traits that indicate whether or not an employee will be able to work well with their teams. These include:
- Being a team player. No matter what level leadership position you are applying for, being a team player is a must at every level.Be ready to give an example of a successful team project. While it helps to talk about your successes, employers also want to hear about what roles the other team members held and how you approached team dynamics.
- Being self-motivated. Every employer values a motivated employee. Motivated employees are often more productive and willing to get things done. One way you can demonstrate this during the interview process is by paying attention to what the hiring authorities tell you about the state of the unit/department/facility and offering informed ideas about strategies you might employ to address pain points. Of course, no one likes a know-it-all. However, offering ideas is a great way for candidates to demonstrate their interest in the facility.
- Being globally minded. One common misconception is that you have to work for an organization with an international presence to be globally minded. Luckily, that couldn’t be further from the truth. When looking for candidates who see the big picture, hiring authorities want to be sure candidates are aware of how their performance has the potential to affect the organization’s bottom line or market position. This is something that every candidate can and should weave into the conversation when possible.
- Being willing to learn. Every organization is different. Interviews are the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that you are eager to learn what aspects of the organization’s culture help make it so successful. By giving anecdotes, candidates can demonstrate what aspects of their personality mesh well with the hospital culture. After all, both the facility and candidate benefit when the right candidates are placed in the right positions.
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