Job interviews are usually made out to seem more stressful than they have to be.
Where a lot of people go wrong is they think they need to walk in the door and prove that they are a great candidate. However, every great company knows that the true value of the individual cannot be discovered in one, or two, or even five interviews–and especially not in what is written on the CV.
Great companies, and their leaders especially, know that it takes spending time with a person and having him or her in the trenches to really know if the person’s a good fit or not.
At this moment, we call this “DNA.” When we interview, we spend far less time asking about people’s prior work experience, inquiring about their college GPA, or testing their working knowledge of the industry. We care more about whether they have the right “DNA”–and if they will be a good fit with the rest of the team.
This is something a lot of people do not consider when they walk in the door for an interview. Instead, they practically have rehearsed the long list of accomplishments, titles, awards, and notable mentions they think will impress the person on the other side of the table.
Don’t get me wrong: Those things are worth mentioning, sure. They highlight your experience or some of your best skills.
But the No. 1 thing every employer (or at least, the good ones) care about is whether you will be a good fit with the rest of the team–and that comes down to your ability to figure things out.
Whatever you do, avoid the words “I don’t know.”
You do know. Trust me, you do know. Even if you “don’t know” the “answer,” what you do know is that you’ll figure it out. Even if you’re not exactly sure how it’ll all work, you know you will find a solution.
You do know.
That’s what employers want to see.
At the end of the day, that’s the only thing that really matters. No two clients are identical. No two workspaces operate in the exact same way. Every situation is different, and that’s part of the joy of it all.
Rambling on and on about your experience, at some point, begins to work against you. Remember: You are only as good as your next performance.
Instead, the best thing you can highlight is your ability to adapt and find solutions. Even during the interview process, you may be asked questions that you don’t know the answer to–and that’s OK.
Instead of saying, “I don’t know,” and feeling ashamed for not being “better prepared,” take those little moments as opportunities to highlight your greatest skill set: Your ability to acknowledge when you don’t know something, and also vocalize your willingness to find a solution.
Every employer will see that as a strength.
And that will signal, as we say, “good DNA.”