Do you know the real reason why you are being interviewed ? Best interview tip!

Do you know the real reason why you are being interviewed ? Best interview tip!

So here you are plonked down firmly in front of a recruiter, HR or direct hiring manager. You may have found your way there via a job advert, a referral or your own proactiveness. How ever you got there you have a job to do and it’s not what you think it is during the interview.

So what is the REAL reason your behind is affixed (albeit often nervously) to the interview seat with the hope of being offered the job?

Have you thought about really what the hell you are doing there? 

Most job candidates don’t think about that strange question, and therein lies the foundation of why many interviews are unsuccessful (for all parties). Sure there is a vacancy, perhaps someone has left and needed replacing. Perhaps the company is expanding and needs new staff. Perhaps they are launching a new product or service. There are many ‘back reasons’ why you are being interviewed. But the real reason is – you are there to solve business problems.

Companies have business pain and problems that need solving!

Sure you are there to talk about your career, background, the company their visions, culture etc  Most people won’t be direct and state they are in pain and have problems. But that is at the bottom, middle and end of all unexpressed and expressed company objectives.  Businesses are desperately trying to quickly find solid solutions to solve their pain points and problems. A few simple examples include:

  • Improve customer service (due to an increase 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 issues/ mismanagement)
  • Improve ROI on media spend  (due to new digital challenges)
  • Create a better culture and leadership team (due to staff  turnover)

So your job and the pathway to a successful interview is to focus on WHAT the pain points and problems are for the company and HOW you can solve them.

Like any purchasing decision, the ‘buyer’ needs to feel really comfortable that the product/service will solve problems/needs and be a good investment. So understand that the hiring company needs plenty of comfort, analytical evidence, and assurances that YOU can solve their pain and problems.

Tips to show how you can solve the hiring company’s problems :

  1. Research, research, research (yes 3 repeats here).   At the front end of sending in a covering letter or email introduction, you must have researched deeply the issues and concerns facing the industry &/or the company.  If you are applying for a role within your current sector, you will know the general problems. If applying to a sector you are not familiar with,  learn, ask questions in your networks etc about that industry. Never assume you know. Thank goodness for Google, Linked In Groups and the plethora of resources.
  2. Address briefly your ‘awareness’ of the issues in your covering letter/email and demonstrate synergy from your past experiences.
  3. At interview – 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. They won’t be sharing that generally so you need to ASK.  Questions are the answers.
  4. 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 quick fire ‘tell me about a time behavioural’ questions. Remember that interviewers are not skilled sales people and what is really needed is a sales process solution framework to demonstrate if you can do the job and solve their problems.

Next time you are being interviewed ask great FFF (feel, felt, found) questions about their issues and demonstrate you have done solid research. Don’t wait until the last 10 minutes of the interview when you get asked ‘if you have any questions’.  Weave your questions up front as soon as possible.

A tool to flip the first  ‘tell me about a time when you did xyz….’   is to ask:

‘before I answer that great question, ‘may I ask something first about …….‘

Then ask something about the industry/company problems that you feel you can address in a past experience to tie it in.  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 dialogue.

Sue Parker

Sue Parker is the founder of CV Dynamix - Australia’s pioneer of human-voiced resumes and humanised job search coaching. After 11 years running a recruitment agency and many years prior in media and sales training Sue founded CV Dynamix in 2014 to offer clients a unique and powerful way to get interviews and land the jobs they wanted.

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