What Would Dad Say: Two Questions Behind Every Job Interview

The job interview is misnamed.  Too many candidates think about the job interview in those terms—ie., the person with the job is going to ask me a bunch of questions and if I answer the questions correctly I may get the job.

What is really happening in the interview is actually quite simple. There are only two questions in the mind of the interviewer:

1. Do I like this candidate?

2. How can this person impact my department, company– can he/she do the job?

Most of the interviewer’s questions are designed to help them find out the answers to these questions.  Smart candidates, on the other hand, will use every tool at their disposal to serve up the answers at every opportunity.

For example, if every job candidate would find out more about the company and what they do, they could be better prepared.   They should bring a HERE IS EXACTLY HOW I CAN HELP YOUR COMPANY plan, documented with ideas and action steps. All it takes is a bit of work, and some presentation skills.

Same idea with the bigger question of DO I LIKE THIS CANDIDATE?  But, even this is in the control of the candidate.  I am not suggesting undertaking a personality transplant, but I am suggesting that you think a bit about how to come across in a more likeable manner during the interview.  Here is one of my posts on making yourself MORE LIKEABLE.

Humans tell stories.  We have since the first caveman told Thor where all the bears were hiding and how to make fire (again).  What is your story?

I suggest you prepare a short elevator pitch on several topics that are sure to come up during the interview.  When the interviewer asks a question, then, you are prepared with a story to tell that answers the question, but you are going to tell it in a compelling, interesting manner.

Let’s say the interviewer asks you “Do you have any experience working with outside contractors?”

The aveage candidate says, “Yes, at my last company we worked with xyz company, and I was in daily meetings with them, presenting our changing issues.” Good enough.

Or the candidate, having done some research and knowing that this job does work with outside contractors, but mindful of the always present DO I LIKE THIS CANDIDATE question—prepares another answer:

“Yes, I have. (leaning in, because visual clues help) But, you know, I really have never thought of them as outside contractors, to me they have always been part of the company, they are that critical to most companies’ success. They are insiders, at least to me.  For example, we had a high level project due on Monday and on Friday, a key spec was changed. I don’t need to tell you what that can do to planning and scheduling.  I was able to call our outsiders-insiders– in over a weekend to help us get the job finished, on time.   Frankly, I think our work surprised everyone.  It wasn’t me, even though I got the credit, it was my outside team.”

Sure, the story is longer.  It might take you more work to prepare, but  prepare it you must.  So much of it has to do with not only the words, but your manners in telling it.

Some hints to make you more likeable as you prepare the story—see if you can find them in the above example.

Hint 1:  Make it more compelling by looking at the issue from a different angle. Maybe the interviewer has never thought of the issue in those terms.

Hint 2:  Relate it to a real world situation that the interviewer can relate to.  Make it real.  Be specific, not general.

Hint 3:  Be humble.

Hint 4.  Get engaged about your story. Practice it. Smile. Lean in.  How would an actor like Tom Cruise tell this story to make the audience believe it.

Lastly, if you find this job opportunity via LinkUp, one of the best job search engines around….you will be able to click around and find out more about the company because you are taken directly to the company’s own website, which contains countless clues for you to tell a  better story.

Posted via web from AndyWergedal