What are employers looking for?

Can you do the job?

Do you have the right skills for the job?
Do you fit into the environment/culture of the company?
If you can effectively communicate that you can do the job and that you have the right skills and that you can fit in, then the job is yours. So why do most people not get hired?
What people often do in the interview is GIVE employers reasons not to hire them. The average person has the right skills and could do the job, but they share inappropriate information during the interview. Below are some examples of inappropriate things to discuss in an interview that will cause the employer to not want to hire you:
1) Sharing medical information, such as the fact that you were on a recent medical leave
2) Sharing information that is personal, such as the fact that your are divorced and going through a hard time
3) Sharing information that is covered under the federal discrimination laws (EEOC), such as information related to your age, race, sexual orientation etc…
4) Complaining about past employers and exhibiting a negative attitude about anything in general
5) Sharing confidential information about your past employer that is not meant for public knowledge
These are just a few examples of things you could discuss that would give employers a reason to NOT want to hire you.
Keep this in mind in your next interview and remember to use discretion!

Delivery makes the Difference

It is not what you say, as much as how you say it. This is very true, especially in interviews. Below are some examples of what people say in and interview versus, what they are trying to say:

What was said Example 1:
Interviewer: “Why did you leave your last job?”
Job Seeker: “The company closed.”
What could have been said to make more of an impact/what was meant:
Job Seeker: “I was at my last job over five years and loved everyone there, which is why I stayed as long as I did. Unfortunately, due to things slowing down, they had to restructure, but I am grateful for everything I learned there and look forward to applying it in my next position.”
What was said Example 2:
Interviewer: “Why should we want to hire you?”
Job Seeker: “I am hard working, detail oriented and organized.”
What could have been said to make more of an impact/what was meant:
Job Seeker: “I have spent over 10 years in the field and I love what I do. A few things that make me stand out are probably the fact that I am very detail oriented and organized. An example of where that proved useful in my most recent position was when we were working on a large project that didn’t have any structure. I took the lead on the project and implemented a new organizational system that help cut the time of the project in half.”
Above are just two examples of where job seekers can increase their ability to sell themselves in an interview through better delivery and communication. Almost everyone I have ever interviewed has at least one example of where they have been effective, but often they are not clear on how to deliver that information in an interview. 
It is not just what you say, it is how you say it!

Tell me about yourself formula

Employer asks you in an interview “Tell me about yourself….” The average person would just start rambling on about any personal or business things that come to mind. 

The most effective formula I have found for answering this question is as follows: 
 “I started in the field X years ago and got into the field because of Y and Z. What I really like about the field I am in is A and B. What most of my prior employers would tell you makes me stand out from others in my field is C & D.”

Block & Bridge your way into your next job

Do you know the trick that every politician and TV personality uses in their interview? It is simple task of blocking and bridging. The next time you are watching a politician being interviewed about their campaign or a movie star about their next big blockbuster, watch the way they block and bridge to make a point.

Blocking and bridging simply means addressing the question that was asked such as “Why is the sky blue?,” then blocking that question and then bridging over to an answer that relates to a point you want to get across. Example: A politician is asked “Why is the sky blue?,” but actually wants to discuss healthcare reform. He would then answer something like this “I was just admiring the blue sky today on my drive to this speech. As I was admiring the blue sky, I began considering the implications of the current state of health care in this country and realized that I had to do something about it…” This is a very simple example, but you can see where I am going with this.
Politicians and celebrities do this because they have an agenda or a point they want to convey and often times are not asked direct questions that allow them to relay this point. 
You, as a job seeker, can use this same tactic during an interview. When asked ANY question in an interview, your goal should always be to look at where you can emphasize a point about why they should want to hire you. You should always have a list of 10 or more talking points that you want to cover during your interview. These talking points should highlight examples of what makes you stand out from others in your position and where you have increased the PEP (Productivity-Efficient-Performance) of your company, your clients, your peers etc… You may touch on one or two points during the interview, or you may hit all 10 depending on how effectively you block & bridge.
During the interview, by using the blocking and bridging technique, you can address these talking points at appropriate times in the interview.
Example: You were at your last job 10 years and you were recently laid off. Point you want to get across is how stable and loyal you are. Question the Employer asks you “Why did you leave your last position?” The average person would answer by saying “I was laid off.” One way you could answer if you were blocking and bridging is “I am glad you brought up why I left my last job. That was really an amazing experience. I loved the company, which is why I stayed there 10+ years, and would have stayed there long term since I loved the people and the work. Unfortunately, like many firms, they had to restructure, but I am grateful for the 10 great years I had there and the experience I gained.”
In this case, you are addressing the question still, but you are also bridging to a point about how stable and loyal you are.
I want to be clear. I am not saying to NOT answer the questions you are being asked. I am suggesting that you answer the questions you are asked intentionally to get a point across that you are the right candidate for the job.