How Much Should I Promise on a Job Interview?
This month’s question is not uncommon. You are interviewing for a job that you really want (and possible also really need), you match MOST of the qualifications. What do you say about the areas where you are not a match? Of course this leads to internal conflict, lose the opportunity or misrepresent your skills and land the opportunity and then begin to panic over being ‘found out’?
Q) How much should I promise on a job interview? I worry that I will not be hired if I do not promise potential employers that I can do everything that they are asking for.
A) This is indeed a dilemma. Employers seem to ask for more and more. When you look at a job posting it seems like employers want us to be able to do everything; as-if we should be a one man (or one woman) band.
Those of you who have spent time with me (virtually or otherwise) know that I advocate taking the high road. You already know I will not say “Oh go ahead and tell them you can do it and then worry about it later.” I have seen people do this and it generally ends badly. Sure there are some people who fake their way through their jobs, but MOST people do not do this successfully. I sit here now envisioning two people who I saw walked off the job (both separate instances at different employers) because they lied about their abilities and their experience.
But before you tell a future employer, “I cannot do that”, I ask you to do some soul searching and take inventory of your skills and your ability to be flexible and learn. Maybe you are being asked about a skill or a knowledge area that is not in your current bag of tricks, but is it a fit for you? Is it a skill or knowledge area that you believe you could acquire within a reasonable time period? (Hint do some research.) If so go to the interview and move forward with confidence. Do not act as-if you already possess this skill or knowledge area (that would be lying), discuss the fact that it is something you have yet to do, but that you look forward to learning. Be willing to take responsibility for your own education and training in the area in question and say so. Whenever possible give an example of a prior situation where you learned a new skill on the job and discuss how you did it, and how it enabled you to support your employer.
Will this mean you get the job? It is possible that another person exists who was an exact match and they land the job. It is also possible that your honesty and your dedication to learning and your flexibility and your other skills will land YOU the job. Either way you walk away with your integrity.
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