Shifting perspectives to improve applications

One of the behaviours considered useful as part of communication and interpersonal skills, is the ability to see a situation from another person’s perspective. This skill enables people to understand how someone is thinking, what concerns are important, how they might be feeling about an issue. Based on this information it is then possible to adjust one’s own behaviour and responses to build rapport, negotiate a mutually acceptable outcome, shift one’s responses.

This skill is useful to the job applicant. Being able to look at a situation (a job opportunity) from at least three perspectives can help an applicant present a strong case that is tailored to the demands of the role.

Here are three perspectives to consider:

The applicant’s perspective

This perspective focuses on what you have to offer. Key aspects include:

  • Why are you interested in this role?
  • What strengths do you bring?
  • What skills, experience, knowledge and personal qualities do you offer?
  • How do you see yourself contributing in this role?
The panel’s perspective

This perspective focuses on what is important for the selection panel and the organisation they represent. Key aspects include:

  • What are their main concerns?
  • What do they really want in this role?
  • What problems will filling this role solve?
  • What are the main challenges during the next 6 – 12 months?
The scribe’s perspective

This perspective focuses on how the person writing up this interview process perceives the applicants. This is a more objective, outsider viewpoint. In reality the person with this task may be on the panel, possibly the chair. Nevertheless, the task still requires a certain objectivity when it comes to comparing applicants. Key aspects include:

  • How do they perceive the case I have put?
  • Are they readily able to grasp what I offer from how I present my case?
  • Am I perceived as a strong candidate?
  • What are they likely to write based on the case I put?

If an applicant only thinks about their case from their own perspective they risk under selling themselves or misaligning their case. Yes you need to consider what you have to offer. This information needs to be balanced against what the panel and organisation want.

Thinking about how the scribe will write up the report can help with judging if your responses are well structured, answer the question, and make it easy for the scribe to document your evidence.

So next time you are considering a job opportunity, think about it from all three perspectives in order to align your material and present a strong case.

Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.