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  • Writer's pictureErin Bailey Lake

Winning the Job Interview: It’s not the IT; it’s the FIT.

You’ve been told that hiring managers are looking for the IT factor.

But no one can define exactly what IT is. They say stuff like:

-- Employers know it when they see it.

-- You have it or you don’t.

-- It’s not a skill; it’s a gift.

-- It’s a combination of good looks, smooth talk, and personality.

-- It’s a Type A on steroids.

Actually, the hiring managers we work with are NOT looking for the IT. They’re looking for the FIT.

The FIT is a set of five factors that set you apart. All candidates have impressive credentials. But which one is best suited to the position?

Which one will transition seamlessly and contribute immediately?

Here are the five FIT factors that employers are looking for:

Learning ability is the number one FIT factor. Can you process information quickly and make good decisions on the fly?

Humility. This incorporates leadership but goes further. It means you recognize when to step up and lead -- and when to support someone else. You’re looking for solutions, not credit. Interviewers see humility as evidence of a secure person with high self-esteem.

Transparency. Hiring managers often ask: “What have you learned from your failures?” If you respond that you have never failed at anything, the interviewer may conclude that you lack self-awareness. Everyone has stuff we need to work on.

Authenticity. Skilled interviewers can spot B.S. in an instant. As trite as it sounds, it’s best to BE YOU. Stay within your personality – whether you’re naturally outgoing or quietly confident. “Fake it till you make it” will usually backfire.

Presence. This is not the same as charisma. Presence is the ability to both engage AND listen. It’s “lifting” others with your ideas, your attitude, and your solutions. For example, in a job interview, you are not just answering questions -- you are engaging in a discussion of what is needed and how you can fill the need.

While appearance and likeability will help you make a good first impression, the astute hiring manager is looking much more deeply.

She/he seeks people with the intangibles -- the FIT factors -- that will strengthen the organization’s ability to compete and win.

If you’re job hunting or preparing for an interview, consider our 1-to-1 workshop: How to Win Your Dream Job.

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