Do you know the real reason you are being interviewed? As you are plonked down firmly in front of a recruiter, HR or direct hiring manager this question may be well swirling in your mind. You may have found your way there via a job advertisement, a referral or your own career protectiveness. But however you got there you have a real purpose and job to do and it’s not necessarily what you think it is.
So what is the real reason your backside is sitting in the interview hot seat?
Have you thought about really what the hell you are doing there? Most people don’t reflect on this question and therein lies the foundation of why many interviews are unsuccessful.
A job vacancy has arisen perhaps because someone has resigned and needs replacing. Or maybe the company is expanding, changing direction or launching a new product or service. There are many potential ‘front line reasons’ why a job is available and you are being interviewed. But the real reason is that you are there to solve business pain and problems .
Sure you are there to talk about your career, background, the company, their visions, cultural fit, your technical skills etc. And most interviewers won’t directly verbalise their business pain and issues. But pain is always at the bottom, middle and end of all unexpressed and expressed hiring objectives. Some basic examples include:
- Improve customer service (due to a flood of client complaints)
- Reduce expenditure & costs (due to dwindling profits & overspending)
- Increase market share (due to aggressive competitor activities)
- Remedy bad community PR (due to risk issues/ mismanagement)
- Multiply ROI on media spend (due to new digital challengers)
- Create a inclusive culture and leadership team (due to high staff turnover)
The pathway to a successful interview outcome is to find out WHAT the pain points and problems are for the company and show HOW you can solve them.
Like any purchasing decision the ‘buyer’ needs to feel really comfortable that the product/service will solve their needs and be a good investment. So understand that the hiring company will need plenty of comfort, evidence and assurances that YOU can and will save the day for them so to speak.
Tips to demonstrate how you can solve problems
Research, research, research
In sending a covering letter or email introduction/pitch with a CV you must have researched the issues and concerns facing that industry &/or company. If you are applying for role within your current sector, you will know the general issues. If applying to a unfamiliar sector you need to learn, ask questions and review. Never assume you know. Thank goodness for Google, Linked In Groups and the plethora of online and network resources. Address your ‘awareness’ of the issues in your covering letter/email and demonstrate relevant and similar solutions from past experiences to align against the issues and challenges.
This is where you can use great sales tools and techniques to FLIP interview questions around. You need to get the interviewer to TELL you what the issues they are facing are and discuss the problems. They generally wont be sharing that without prompting so you need to ASK. Questions are the answers – for example : ” what is the biggest challenge your marketing team is facing in the supermarket shelf war ?” OR ” what are the major user experience issues on your website that prevent conversion ?”
Knowing some of the expressed issues, you are then in a great position to really shine, showcase how you have dealt with similar pain points in the past and relay how you can contribute to and solve their needs.
Now 80% of interviews don’t quite go the way of a 2-way problem-solution conversation. Unfortunately most focus on rapid fire ‘tell me about a time…’ behavioural questions. Remember that interviewers are not always skilled curiosity driven 2-way great conversationalists or experts in the field they are interviewing for. So you need to help them and yourself by changing the interview framework around to your advantage to showcase that YOU are their solution.
Next time you are being interviewed ask and weave in FFF (Feel Felt Found technique) questions and responses about issues and demonstrate your understanding. Don’t wait till the last part of the interview when you get asked ‘if you have any questions’. Introduce your questions as soon as possible into the interview.
A great tool to flip stock standard questions like ‘tell me about a time when you did xyz….’ is to turn the conversation around and ask :
‘before I answer that great question, ‘may I ask something first about ………‘
Then ask a smart and well thought our question to open conversation about the challenges the company faces so you can address it and tie it into your experiences and knowledge. This is very powerful – try it. And best of all you will often be able to lead the interview into a more robust 2-way human business dialogue which will increase your interview success.