Top talent is just as likely to be evaluating the interviewers as they are to be evaluated.
Top talent typically has many opportunities for jobs. Interview opportunities are plentiful, and top talent may turn down as many interviews as they take (if not more). When top talent does interview, they often do so differently than others. Learning from top talent can give you an edge in your interviewing as well.
Top Talent Projects Confidence
Employers want to see an appropriate level of confidence as they interview candidates. Top talent knows it can do the job, and that it has something of value to offer. In lots of verbal and non-verbal ways, top candidates send the message that they have what it takes to succeed at whatever they attempt. Non-verbal cues signaling confidence include making eye contact, turning toward the interviewer(s), and shaking hands warmly when introduced.
It's important to believe that you can handle the job you interview for. Besides making sure you fit the specified qualifications, you should spend some time thinking through the value you can offer an employer and practice communicating this to the interview team. It's normal to be nervous or anxious about an interview, and interviewers expect this, but also want to see that candidates feel they can do the job well.
Top Talent Interviews the Interviewer
Because top talent has multiple opportunities, they need to be selective to find the best opportunity at any given time. Top talent's agenda at an interview is always twofold: to show that they are the best candidate for the position, and to find out whether the position is the best opportunity before them.
Top talent will ask questions (within interview etiquette) to help them evaluate the position just as the interview team is evaluating them. Top talent interviews are a two-way street, and their questions show interviewers that they have something to offer just as much as their answers do. Copy top talent by making sure you ask evaluative questions as well as give answers.
Shaking hands and making eye contact show confidence.
Top Talent Evaluates Cultural Fit
Rather than accepting any job that is offered to them, top talent takes time to learn about the culture of a company before accepting a position. You can evaluate cultural fit by carefully observing the way the interview team communicates with you and each other, looking at the company website, handbook and other documents, and asking questions about company core values to see if they match up to your own philosophy of business and work.
Some advantages in gauging cultural fit are to have multiple interviews, especially if a later interview takes place in a restaurant or more informal setting. Attending any kind of company social gathering will allow you to get an idea about how things really work within the company, rather than just what the official documents say.
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