During the Interview, It’s Not About You

Posted by | October 8, 2011 | Interview Tools

When I hear people talking about the hiring process, what they are really relating to me is their WIIFM. Since they are the jobseeker, it must be about them. Right? However, for every interviewee, there is an interviewer, the person who is offering the job.

Most people approach job seeking with the goal of providing as much information about themselves as possible, making sure the person they are interviewing with knows how skilled they are. They list previous jobs, awards and community volunteer projects they have accomplished. All of this screams Me, Me, Me. Yet there are hundreds of Me’s out there today. The DOL statistical average is just over 6 applicants for every job. Back around 2001, it was 1.1 jobs for every applicant. Times are different now and Me, Me, Me will not work.

If it’s not Me, Me , Me, then what will work today? Actually, it’s the same thing that has always worked. Having the employer see you as solving a problem that they have. In the past, the problem might have been that XYZ Company needed computer programmers and they couldn’t find them because everyone was hiring computer programmers. Today, the needs of the employer and the problem you would be solving may be more subtle. And employers have the luxury of meeting many applicants for each position offered.

If you are applying for a dental technician’s job, you are really applying to be one of the family. The Dentist interviewing you is looking at how well you will fit in with the rest of the staff. He or she is asking themselves, “will this candidate understand my customer service philosophy and take care of my patients the same way I would? Will they be great ambassadors of my business away from work as well as while they are in my office? Are they interested in learning, in keeping up with trends in my business and in the dental field as a whole? You can apply the same logic to any industry.

Your job in the interview is to make sure they see you as the person who can solve their problem. Having 3 degrees and a wealth of experience may have gotten you the interview, but the dentist is going to be talking to 8 more people who have similar backgrounds. If you can’t solve a problem for them, you won’t stand out, you won’t get short listed, and you won’t get the job.

During the interview, your questions should help steer the interview towards your goal of being seen as the problem solver. As I have said many times, you must have stories about how you have; 1. saved companies money 2. increased sales for a company and 3. provided great customer service for a company. People remember stories. A future employer will use your story to justify his or her decision to hire you. They will tell their office staff, the people you will be working with, “your story”. If they have a partner in the practice, they will use “your story” to prove to their partner that you are the best candidate.

The story they tell about you will be how you will solve their problem. Your story may be that “not only do you have the expertise in a particular procedure that they would like to offer, but you have already volunteered to teach the rest of the staff once you are on the job”.

So, make sure that you spend time asking questions to find out what problem the employer is trying to solve by hiring. Then spend the rest of your time making sure the interviewer understands your story about how you will solve their problem. This puts WIIFM on the employer, where they see you as the only person who can solve their problem.

Now when you tell your story about how you used your story during the interview, your story will have a happy ending because they hired you!

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