Smart employers keep it simple.
They want to know:
- Can you do the job?
- Do you want the job?
- Will you fit in with the team workwise/culturally/socially/chemically?
Smart candidates work out ways to answer “Yes” to each of these questions.
Can you do the job?
Confident but modest war stories. “Yes I did something similar at XYZ.” Problem, diagnosis, action, result. Try to use both “we” and “I” in your answer. The former shows that you recognize that it is a team effort, the latter that you actually had a distinct role and made a personal contribution and didn’t simply blend in with the majority.
Do you want the job?
Don’t be afraid to show some enthusiasm. Engineers especially often struggle with this. “This job feels like a good fit for me and I hope I get it.” Salespeople know intuitively that you have to explicitly ask for the work. Be sure that you say why you want it. The company has a new approach to the market, they are at an inflection point, you can contribute something critical to their success…something solid.
Will you fit in with the team workwise/culturally/socially/chemically?
Listen. Be respectful of what they have done. Good body language might include smiles, eye contact, a few nods or acknowledgments, but nothing too extreme. Read their cues and try to discover what the prevailing culture is. If you like it, say so, if not, then this may not be the job for you, unless you really really need to pay the rent.