How do you become a round peg in a round hole, as a perfect fit for the open position? The answer is to understand explicitly what the hiring organization is looking for in their finalist candidate, and then match it. If you don’t know the three critical questions to find the answers, your job search strategy will be hit-or-miss.
To advance your candidacy to the next level, either from the telephone screen or initial interview, here are the three questions that will give you the insights you’ll need:
- What item on my resume created the desire to interview me?
- What are the short-term issues that need solutions within the open position?
- What are the performance expectations for the new hire in the first year?
Once these questions are answered, you have the framework to understand not only how to interview, but also what the key elements are for success. Let’s take them one at a time:
1. What item on my resume created the desire to interview me?
Since the hiring organization will have a hundred or more resumes, the screening process will narrow the list down to the ones that come closest to the ideal model. Since you have the position description or ad, designed your resume around the key requirements and have researched the company, you should be part of the first cut. The hiring organization will now look for key items on the resume that are of particular interest. Asking them to identify the item(s) that caused their interest will give you critical information for you to exploit. You now know what you have in your background that they want. That’s a tremendous advantage.
2. What are the short-term issues that need solutions within the open position?
The hiring organization has a number of issues or opportunities they want the new hire to solve immediately. Most organizations will lay these out to you if asked. Their responses tell you what your plans and tactics need to be for success in the short-term. Focus on answering interview questions with these issues in mind. From there you can easily design an “entry strategy” to discuss with the hiring manager.
3. What are the performance expectations for the new hire in the first year?
These are the results the hiring organization is looking for in the longer term. With this knowledge you can gauge your timing and actions to coincide with the results hiring manager is expecting after 12 months on the job. Your responses to interview questions need to be more strategic, integrated into the actions of the larger organization.
As the saying goes, “Knowledge is power”. These three questions will give you more information than any other external candidate. Many times even internal candidates don’t know the answers to these three questions, or how to utilize them. The real power comes from the answers you provide for potential solutions.
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