An interview is selling your services to the hiring manager (decision maker). You may be interviewed by numerous people and each will have input (no manager wants to take full responsibility for a bad hire) however, it is the hiring manager who has the final say.
Since you are selling your services to your potential boss it makes sense to focus on what would really please the boss. Here are some things that make bosses happy:
Particularly at the beginning of a new job communication is the key to establishing a productive relationship. It is equally important to know how the boss likes to receive communication. Does she want the details, the highlights, the problem and the solution, communications via email or in-person meetings?
In the interview talk about how you communicate and the importance of being in communication with the person to whom you report.
Listening to the boss:
Bosses really like to be heard. In order for them to feel heard, it helps for them to hear from you what you learned from what they said. Responsive listening where you summarize what you heard is very effective. For example, “What I heard you say is you want this report to include all client sales figures and you would like it by close of business Thursday is that correct?”
You can display responsive listening in the interview. Example, “What I understand from what you said is you are looking for the person in this position to manage all perishable inventory for the three East Coast locations, is that correct?”
Bosses are looking for someone to support and cooperate with them to bring their ideas (good or not) to fruition. They are not looking for naysayers and doubters. It is important to give the idea a try and not to throw up roadblocks.
In the interview, if possible acknowledge the hiring manager’s ideas. Being genuine, say “interesting idea” or “good thought” or “I like that approach.” If you cannot genuinely say one of these phrases, consider if the job is for you.
Understand how you fit the bosses style:
Good bosses are not looking for a Minnie-Me. They want someone to compliment their style and add additional skill dimensions. Understand what your boss is strong at, what he is weak at, and try to fill the gaps.
Listen during the interview and discern what the hiring manager is good at, what they like, and don’t like to do. Position yourself as filling the gaps; if you really can and if you want to.
Bosses like committed engaged workers that are motivated and energetic. They like a person who is thinking about the job, going above and beyond, and is offering suggestions and solutions.
Be proactive in the interview. The best way to do this is to prepare an interview presentation including strategic action plan for your first 30 and 60 days on the job. An interview presentation communicate interest, motivation and engagement.
In your interview you can talk about or exhibit many of the qualities the hiring manager is looking for. Once they experience your attitude and style they will feel more secure to make you the candidate of choice.