Job-seekers have the wrong idea. They think that they’re supposed to go to a job interview and sit quietly and meekly in their chair like a mouse.
They think that you get a gold star if you answer the interviewer’s questions correctly. You get nothing. Interviewers immediately forget you when you don’t make them think!
You have two goals at a job interview. The first one is to get the interviewer thinking and off the script. The second goal is to ask smart questions about the company’s Business Pain — the reason they’re taking the time to interview people in the first place!
How do you get the interviewer off the script? This story lays it out. Any open-ended question gives you a great keyhole to move the conversation away from the lame interview script and into a substantive discussion about pain and solutions.
Once you’re off the interview script, even for a few moments, you can start to ask questions about the Business Pain behind the job ad.
Let’s say it’s a job for an HR Coordinator. When do companies hire HR people? Only when they have to! No one has extra HR people hanging around just for fun.
Interviewer: So, tell me about your experiences in HR.
You: For sure! Can I ask you a quick question about this job, so that my remarks will be relevant?
You: Is this a new position, or are you replacing someone?
Interviewer: It’s a new position.
You: Ah! What led you to decide to hire someone new?
Interviewer: Well, our HR team including me is very busy with our programs — training programs, benefits programs and so on. We need someone to deal with the employees day to day.
You: Why is that?
You will keep asking Pain Questions until you have a great understanding of what is bugging the company enough to plunk down a full-time salary plus benefits to make the problem go away. Better yet, your intelligent questions will make the interviewer think.
You’ll make him or her really stop and tell you what’s going on in the department.
Most job-seekers don’t ask any questions until the very end of the interview, and then they’re likely to ask a standard question like “Can you please tell me about the health plan?”
You can do better than that! You’re going to demonstrate through your questions (not your answers!) that you understand a lot about the specific kind of Business Pain facing your possible next employer. In this case, it’s employee relations pain.
The employees are lining up to talk to people in HR but those people aren’t available. That’s bad!
What happens when employee needs go unadressed? People get upset. They complain to their managers, or they quit. Morale tanks. You know that movie! Most people do.
Can you stand out at your next interview by digging in to understand what your next boss is up against? Try it!
This article was written by Liz Ryan from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.