Establishing Focus in an Interview

By Kim Monaghan

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Establishing directive focus is an important competency to demonstrate in an interview. Those familiar with the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment, (Gallup Organization) know this important leadership quality comes into play under the strength of connectedness. People who are firmly grounded in connectedness have a knack for understanding how things relate. Individuals with strong strategic leadership skills are also able to convey the logic of connections to others. This “connectedness” strength is exactly what’s involved in establishing focus. In other words, if you have a firm understanding of what the goals are for an organization, project, or meeting, and are able to articulate how your team’s work contributes to that overall objective, then you have established focus. Leaders who have a strong competency in establishing focus will educate their teams on the importance of align their projects and efforts with an overall strategic plan for an organization. Not only does this help team members understand the purpose of their work, but it also fosters employee engagement.

So how does all this relate to an interview? The competency of establishing focus should be demonstrated throughout your interview dialogue as well as being illustrated in your employment history and notable accomplishments. To begin, savvy applicants know the goal of the interview is to find a candidate with the strongest success probability as evidenced in their performance record, professional development track, history of growth, meeting new challenges and will ultimately fit in well with the culture of the organization.

Applicants with a strong competency of establishing focus will have a solid understand all of these parameters and be able to clearly articulate how they are able meet and exceed them. Not only will this make the interviewer’s job easier, but it demonstrates other transferable skills the applicant may possess including problem analysis, performance accountability, oral communications, perceptivity, and strong interpersonal relations. Having a knack for this strength should automatically be illustrated throughout your professional history. If you’ve honed the competency of establishing focus then strategic thinking and business planning along with a keen understanding of organizational dynamics will be evident throughout your professional successes, To clarify, by answering behavioral questions with appropriate examples of innovative action followed by successful results will demonstrate your ability to connect individuals, and even teams, in pursuit of an overarching goal. You must also be prepared to discuss how you maintained focus when problems arose and what you did to incorporate appropriate feedback and rework strategies.

Closing an interview with a focus-based response to “Why are you the best candidate for the position?” will help the interviewer make a pragmatic financial decision. By clarifying how you’re a sound investment and a high-potential, you will give them solid talking points to convince those involved in developing the salary package that you’re worth it—and maybe more.
 

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