But how do you figure out the culture of a company you’ve never worked for? As Nicole tried to evaluate company cultures, she kept asking the Passover question: “How is this organization different from all other organizations?” And, as with Passover, I told Nicole, the answer should come in the form of a story. Ask people to tell you a story about something that happened at their organization but wouldn’t elsewhere.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when interviewing is playing the entire thing on the defense.
They enter into the conversation with the mindset of:
- I hope they like me
- I have to prove myself
- I hope I don’t say anything that will scare them
If you have any sort of value or confidence this is almost always the wrong approach. You are valuable. You are capable. You can help that organization.
You need to change the conversation from whether you’re worth their time to whether they’re the right fit for you.
It’s remarkable what this does to an interview. It can often make the interviewer go from being unsure whether they should hire you, to basically pitching their company and why you should work there.
And when asked about the interview later they’re likely to respond with comments like:
Wow, she was really strong. She seemed to have everything we need. I’d like to get her before someone else does.
That’s the switch you need to happen. Change the conversation from whether you’re worthy to work there to whether they’re good enough to get you before someone else.
You’re the asset. They’re hoping to benefit from you.
It’s a mindset.
- Remind yourself before the interview that you are the asset
- Don’t let yourself feel submissive or frightened
- Answer any competence questions normally
- Use this technique mostly in culture/fit conversation
- Don’t overdo it
You. Are. The. Asset.
- Please don’t go into an interview for a job you absolutely need, when you don’t hold any cards, and get aggressive or bring an attitude. It won’t end well for you and I get enough email as it is. The point is simply to not allow the system to put you in a mentally submissive position.
- Turning an interview around in this way often requires that you first ace the basics, e.g., any competency questions related to the position, etc. It’s generally not good to respond to those types of questions with counter-vetting. Wait until the conversation is around culture and fit.