Whenever I interview people, I ask them this simple question – How will you add value to us?
Several smart interviewers do ask this question, albeit in different ways.
The responses to this key question can determine your chances of getting selected or not.
Most of the time, I notice that the interviewee is taken by surprise by this question. After all, the guy has spent the last hour or so explaining what he has done so far in his career, what achievements he had. Isn’t that enough?
Frankly, it is not enough.
As an interviewer, I am looking to learn the guy’s perspective on how he can add value. It is easy to share what one has done so far, but taking the next step and thinking through how that is helpful to the organization requires exercising a different set of brain muscles – to think from the other person’s point of view.
It is similar to the difference between articulating “features” and “benefits” in any product.
What you have done so far – professional qualifications, experience, achievements – are all “features”. Do you know how to translate that into “benefits” to the organization? Remember, the features can still be the same, but the benefits would differ depending on the organization you are talking to.
Let us say you are a super-duper software engineer who can develop anything fast. If you are interviewing with a start-up who value “speed” then you will articulate their benefit as – “I can develop things fast for your start-up”. However, if you are interviewing with a large company where speed is secondary, then you emphasize on your engineering skills and say “My engineering skills will enable you to develop bug-free product”
This is very critical. In the simple example above, think about the impact you have on the interviewer from the start-up: He values “speed” and you give that to him. He cares less if he releases a buggy product in the market, and more about time to market. Whereas the interviewer from a large company values “bug free delivery” more than speed.
Remember to prepare well and answer the above simple question.
All you need to do is to think about what are the critical issues the organization is facing and think about how you can help solve them. That is the benefits explained!