When the interviewer asks “how will you contribute to our success”, bring together your story and what you have learned about this employer and this position.
What Does the Employer Think will “Contribute to Our Success?
You’re going to need a clear idea of what the company believes drives their success.
Unless you’re applying to be the president, start with what they’ve already stated to be the principal driver of the company’s success.
You can find that out in publicly available materials. If the company is publicly traded, The annual report is a good place to start.
For broad statements about the company’s plans, vision, mission, read the president’s letter to shareholders.
Look for clear, simple statements that you can use in your interview. Work your way through the rest of the annual report looking for relevant statements.
Check the company’s name in the news. You don’t want to walk into the interview oblivious to a major announcement. If the interviewer refers to something that was announced yesterday, you don’t want to act puzzled.
Frame your own story to “Contribute to our Success”
Now connect your history of achievements to their success drivers. Remember, they asked you how you will contribute to their success. The best way to answer that is telling them how you contributed to your previous employers’ success.
Your previous employer isn’t going to phone the interviewer with a bunch of stories about your amazing contributions. That’s your job. If you aren’t a good storyteller, it’s a good time to start learning how to put together a story that people remember.
Try “SPAR” for an effective story structure
Describe something you did in a way that connects credibly with what the employer wants to know.
- Situation: Describe a situation that needed action. What it was like before you acted?
- Problem: Emphasize unacceptable consequences of failure to act. Quantify if you can.
- Action: Tell the interviewer exactly what you did. Simplify technical complexity.
- Result: Report the outcome, including the impact on the company’s success.
Adapt this Story for Other Interview Questions
As you work through this series, you’ll recognize a similar approach to many questions that seem different. That’s because many questions are asked to reveal the same underlying information. You don’t need 50 stories to be prepared for 50 questions, but having more stories is always better than fewer.
As you prepare this story, consider including these suggestions:
- Add credibility by referencing acknowledged the success of your initiative, your story gains credibility.
- Show your passion: you refuse to be a passive bystander when you see unresolved problems.
- Your initiatives convey leadership more than action directed by others.
- Emphasize teamwork and leadership by calling on others to participate.
- What qualities led you to solve this problem, not someone else ?
- Employers value agility. Does your telling of this story emphasize it?
- What resistance did you encounter? How did you overcome pushback?
- Let them visualize the story happening in their company.
- Highlight “special skills” used in completing this initiative.
If all this sounds like a lot to do for a simple interview, remember that other applicants are preparing for interviews on the same day as yours. Somebody will stand out from the rest and it might as well be you.
Watch the presentation on Slideshare:
This is the third post in a series of 50, each addressing a different question. Subscribe today so you’ll learn about each one.!