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Preparing for interview questions does not require memorizing answers to the most popular inquiries. Instead, job seekers need to focus on what they offer as it relates to what the employer wants.

Deciding What You Offer
Before every interview, ask yourself:

“Why am I a good fit for this job?”

I tell my clients to post the question, “Why should we hire you?” on their bathroom mirror, refrigerator or anyplace they will see it during the day. I instruct them to answer, out loud, keeping different companies in mind each time. Rehearsing this way will help you hone in on what you have to offer.

Identify what is unique or special about you. How have you gone above and beyond the call of duty? What did you accomplish that no one else managed to do? Did you volunteer to tackle a problem and solve it? Don’t underestimate the value of looking at yourself, your skills and your accomplishments and outlining the key points you will want to share with a prospective employer.

Identify What the Organization Wants
While the focus of “Why should we hire you?” (and other interview questions) is on “you,” the interviewee, it’s important to remember the answer isn’t all about you. The most successful interview responses focus on the hiring manager’s needs. Framing replies that demonstrate you understand their problems — or “pain points,” makes a big difference when competing with many other qualified candidates.

Prepare by identifying the skills employers are looking for. Use their in-depth job descriptions, view videos the employers post about their organization, visit their Facebook sites and Twitter feeds.

Answer the Question

Frame your answer to, “Why should we hire you?” to suit the employer’s needs. Print and highlight the job description, looking for the top three or four most important details. Do they include terms such as, “cross-functional team,” “team work,” and “team player” several times? If your answer to, “Why should we hire you?” (asked directly or as an underlying question) does not mention and focus on your abilities as they relate to teams, you are probably out of luck.

I gave these and other tips to Forbes writer Jacquelyn Smith. Take a look at her post for more good tips.

photo by purpleslog

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