It is not surprising to realize that the primary purpose of a job interview, or even a casual conversation around a possible business association is, “are we a fit?” “Can we work successfully together”.
When you are in a 1:1 meeting to discuss your candidacy for an opportunity,you have already passed the test of having the right credentials and experience for the most part. They have reviewed your resume and your terrific bio and know you professionally to a certain extent.
What they really want to know is the answer to the classic question, “tell me about yourself”.
They want to know how you think, interact with people, size up and solve problems, deal with stress; how you are to work with. The interviewer (and the company) wants to know how successful you will be at the company. How you will “fit in”.
This is especially true the older you are. Young people can be trained and molded to a company culture; older folks bring years of acculturation elsewhere to the party. This can prove problematic in many cases.
So what to do?
I believe that the more you can present a convincing attitude of “I am here to HELP”, the more appreciative and interested they may be in bringing you on board. This is also true for pitching consulting assignments.
Your primary interest should be in learning “what needs to be done” (solve their need). Focusing your comments and questions on how you can help, rather than on personal issues of what resources, office space, and other secondary issues, should help convince them that you are focused on them and their needs rather than on yours.
As you begin to satisfy them in the interview of your intentions on their behalf, the “fit” will improve and become comfortable for both you and them.
Once you have an offer, you can decide if the opportunity is a “fit” for you. But, until that point, ensure you have them and identifying and satisfying their needs 100% in mind.