When you interview with a Hiring Manger, you must be able to answer their WIIFM question (“What’s in it for me?”).
They want to know how you can help them solve problems, make things better, and generally make them look good.
Ideally, they want to hire someone who can hit the ground running with little to no help. If there’s training required, they’re looking to hire someone who has the demonstrated ability to learn quickly.
The Hiring Manager has 4 key areas of concern which they are looking for you to address during an interview so that they can feel comfortable about hiring you.
Concern #1: Do you understand the job?
The thought process here is that you can’t do a job that you don’t understand.
The Hiring Manager wants to know that you understand their goals, objectives, and the key accountabilities and processes of the position.
This is why you need to do your homework before the interview.
Start by researching the company website and social media to find out as much as you can about the target position, the company, and the industry.
What are the industry trends?
What is a key initiative they company is with?
What is their mission?
An even better way, is to get insider information by reaching out to someone who works at the company you are interviewing with who understands the job and would be willing to answer a few questions.
Uncovering key information will help you answer interview questions and will also show that you have done your due diligence which will impress the Hiring Manager.
The ultimate goal is to determine what it is that YOU have that would be most interesting to the Hiring Manager based on the information that you have gleaned from your research.
What qualifications do you have that are a fit with the job?
What activities, projects, and initiatives have you contributed to that align with what they do?
What strategies have you implemented that are the same or similar?
What targets have you met or exceeded that are relevant?
You must be able to draw a connection between the kind of positive outcomes you have achieved and what the employer wants.
If you have the experience for the job
To show you understand the position, you would say things like:
“In my previous role, I did that before when…..” or “I was part of a project where we did the exact same thing when…”
If you lack experience
Don’t say “I haven’t done that, but I’ve done this”.
It’s human nature to hear only the negative part – what you haven’t done. The Hiring Manager won’t bother to listen to the rest of what you have to say.
Instead, say something like:
“In my role as Administrative Assistant with Acme Company, I did something similar when….”
By talking about specific situations that are similar where you contributed your expertise, it helps connect the dots for the Hiring Manager so that they can see where you have transferable skills, knowledge, and experience.
If you don’t have experience in the target job, an excellent way to gain a deep understanding of the position is to find someone with experience in that role who would be willing to let you follow them throughout their job day to see what they do.
Job shadowing will help you interview better and also shows that you have taken initiative to understand what is involved.
Concern #2: Can you do the job?
The Hiring Manager wants to know that you can actually do the job.
This is where you will talk about your skills, education, knowledge, experience, and other qualifications that are relevant to the position.
When you answer the interview questions, make sure to give specific examples of where you utilized the kind of qualifications they are looking for that produced positive business outcomes.
The examples you give should show where you have done something that’s the same or similar to what they are looking for.
The focus should be on talking about your specific accomplishments that would be of interest to them and support your value proposition.
The accomplishments should ideally be quantifiable where you quote some metrics ($, %, #) to make it more compelling. Numbers also serve as proof of where you did things well.
If you don’t have experience in the target industry or job function, you will have to come up with compelling career success stories that show transferable skills, knowledge, and experience.
Concern #3: Will you do the job?
This is largely a concern about work ethic and focus as well as your commitment to the company and position.
The Hiring Manager wants to know that you’re going to show up at work with energy and enthusiasm to deliver results and that you’re going to be there for the long haul.
The way to address this concern is to offer examples of where you have gone the extra mile to make sure that projects, assignments, and tasks were completed on time and on budget without jeopardizing quality.
If you have some short work tenures due to layoffs and company closures, it might be a good idea to make sure the Hiring Manager is aware of this to alleviate a potential concern about job hopping.
Concern #4: Do you pose a hiring risk?
The Hiring Manager’s job is on the line when they hire someone to fill a key role. They don’t want to take a chance – they’re looking for a “sure thing”.
In their minds, hiring you poses a potential risk, so you need to minimize that feeling of risk.
You do this by talking about stories and accomplishments that align with what the Hiring Manager is looking for and by answering the questions clearly and succinctly.
You want them to be fee confident that if they were to hire you, you will do a great job and won’t be a flight risk.
The more you can demonstrate and give evidence of how well you performed in the past and how you are committed to doing the same thing in the future, the better chance you have of landing the job.
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