By JCS Career Center
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 lightening 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 workstyle to 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 in 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.
As for the opposite result, if you didn’t get the job, don’t be discouraged because the rejection isn’t always personal. Your next opportunity may be right around the corner.
The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment assistance that helps job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resume and cover letter services, interview preparation, job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation and job placement assistance. For more information, call 410-466-9200 or visit jcsbaltimore.org.