There are several things you should always articulate to a hiring manager in an interview. But here's the one that matters the most:
Your Workplace Persona = How to Justify Your Salary
Your workplace persona is how you like to add value on the job. There are eight main workplace personas, and most of us have two or three that are dominant. These personas identify what you do to save or make enough money to justify the cost of hiring you. Hiring managers want to hear you explain this in a way that makes them realize you're the aspirin to their pain. The more you can prove you'll solve their problems the way they want you to, the easier it is for them to see you are worth every penny.
The challenge is that no two people deliver value on the job in the same way. And if you are asked to do it one way and you'd rather do it another, it can make for a pretty bad work situation. For example, let's say you are a project manager who believes she is successful because she is a Superconnector who loves to communicate with people. But the employer you are interviewing with wants a project manager who is a Builder who likes to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty. See the issue? The disconnect between the two styles will make you a poor fit for the role in the eyes of the hiring manager. That's why understanding your preferred workplace personas and how to articulate them is so important. It's the only way both you and the hiring manager can make sure you're the right person for the job!
Tip: Ask This Question to Determine What Persona the Hiring Manager Wants
One of the eight best questions you can ask in an interview is:
"Tell me about the most successful person you've seen do this job. What do you feel she or he did right to be so successful?"
This enables you to listen closely to what the hiring manager values. Then, if you like what you hear, you can share examples from your own professional past that prove you would take a similar approach. Notice I said "if you like what you hear." That's because, whenever possible, you shouldn't take a job that doesn't sound like it would play to your professional strengths. As I mentioned earlier, if you like to work one way and your employer wants you to work another, you'll find yourself pretty miserable. Today, it's up to us to assess if a job is the right fit. In my 15-plus years as a career coach, I've observed that most career setbacks occur when someone settled for or stayed in a job that wasn't a fit.