Some companies will interview candidates but won’t be offering anyone a job! They are interviewing you to find out how to get the results you did in a similar situation, but have no intention of hiring anyone. They are proselytizing your good work.
Be suspect if you’re interviewed by a number of people a number of times, asking for a level of detail about the steps for how you achieved results for a project or a function. Answer their “what” questions, but side-step the “how to” questions. Why? If you answer their “how” questions in complete detail, or give them a strategy or plan, they won’t need you, so why give away the answers? I have experienced this issue a few times. It’s a waste of your time and effort, especially if you had a unique solution to a high value issue,
One of the ways to figure out if your being hoodwinked is to wait for the interviewer to layout what they want to achieve in the job for which you are interviewing. If they lay out their expectations for the open position, they’re for real. If they ask for the plan by which you achieved the results that they want to replicate, then the interview is not for real.
One of the mistakes that some applicants make is to assume that as long as the interviewing continues, they are in the cue as a top candidate. While this may be true in a third-round interview when you should be meeting with the boss’s boss, it’s not true if you continue to meet with technical or functional peers who continue to quiz you on your past projects.
Another tip-off is when you’re meeting with a group and they continue to focus on a specific problem that they have and you solved somewhere else. The group is trying to obtain as much information as possible, not interview you about your qualifications. Or when you’re meeting with a group and one or two are taking notes rather than asking you questions. These are the scribes whose job it is to document your answers in hopes that you reveal key information that will help solve their problems.
About 10 years ago there was a commercial on television that showed a CEO laying out the problems of the corporation to a group of consultants. The consultants identified the issues (the what), defined potential alternatives and the time line necessary to find a solution. They also gave examples of solutions they achieved for other companies. The CEO asked, “So how can you give me the same results?” The senior consultant answered, “Hire us and we’ll show you”.
The same concept applies to you as a finalist candidate in an interview. If the hiring organization has a problem that you can solve, or have solved somewhere else, tell them to hire you and you’ll provide them with a solution.
If you can’t market yourself as a problem solver, no one else can do it for you.
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