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4/26/15 - 3 key questions to ask yourself before a job interview

COMMENTARY by Charles Galda 

Be prepared to explain how you can bring value to the company.

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What are three tips for nailing a job interview?” is written by Charles Galda, CIO of technology centers and services at GE Capital.

Ultimately, every business is focused on delivering value and driving growth, so the most important thing you can do in an interview is show how you can contribute to those goals. The best way to do this is by providing specific examples of how you added value in past situations. This will help your interviewer predict your potential for future success. Here are the top three traits I look for when interviewing candidates at GE Capital:

Are you inquisitive? I always look for candidates who don’t just answer my questions, but who have an innate desire to learn more about what we’re doing. This can unfold through thoughtful responses or insightful questions that reveal your true interest and understanding of the subject matter or a discussion about the goals of the organization. Show your aptitude by trying to demonstrate your understanding of how our business and our customers make money.

And, before any interview, find out what is unique about the organization’s products or services. If you were a customer, would you want to do business or partner with us? Why or why not? When you consider questions customers might have or unique challenges facing the company, it will create an informative dialogue. This will help employers evaluate your value.

Are you a problem-solver? In my experience, problem-solving is one of the most important skills a candidate can have given the constant need of any organization to be agile and dynamic. Once you understand the tangible problems your potential employer is trying to solve, show them you can be creative and uncover new ways to tackle both existing and new problems. Come to the interview armed with a few examples of how you faced a problem and developed an out-of-the-box solution in the past.

It can be something very basic: think about how you brought a fresh perspective to a tense project with colleagues, or managed yourself in an environment that was outside your comfort zone. If you’re interviewing for a job with a unique background, this is also where you can show the value of having a different perspective that led to an innovative solution. The key is to show you worked through the challenge by finding a creative way around it, you adjusted expectations, or you improved upon an early idea. This will help you show your potential value.

Are you a good team player? I am a big believer in teamwork and see small teams playing an increasingly dominant role in the future of business. The challenge for many leaders today is how to manage and motivate several small teams working together to produce something larger. Many candidates have long lists of their personal accomplishments, but few spend time thinking about teamwork — and that’s a mistake.

Remember, you don’t have to prove that you can do everything yourself. In fact, knowing when and how to consult, collaborate, and delegate among diverse groups is a real skill and a key criteria for companies today. Businesses are rarely successful via isolated work of individuals; it is the collective work of groups that achieve true innovation and business results. So, think of team results, how you contributed to teams in the past, and why having you on the team in the future would be an advantage. This will help to not only show, but also grow your value in any organization.


Charles Galda, CIO of technology centers and services at GE Capital