Interviews are a curious way to find a job. It’s kind of like going on a date: Everyone is dressed up, on his or her best behavior, and move through choreography like a written script. Now ask yourself, “How can I differentiate myself from all others so I’m the candidate of choice?”
Within each interview there are 3 segments:
- To start off they’ll say, “Let me tell you a little bit about the company”
- They’ll get to the heart of what they want, by saying, “Let me ask you questions about your background and experiences”
- Lastly they casually ask, “Do you have any questions of me?”
During this last segment is where you jump in with your Show Stopper questions. Your objective during an interview is to answer all the questions intelligently, but you also need to ask the right questions. The answers you receive from the Show Stopper questions will provide you with the information you need to design and excel at the next round of interviews.
What are the Show Stopper questions? During the telephone and screening interviews you need to ask key questions: First, “What are the key issues in this function that need to be solved?” and second, “What are the performance expectation for the new hire during the first year?”
When you extract that information during the telephone interview, you will be prepared for the screening interview, as you now know what they are looking for. Your responses can now be customized to fit the “key issues” and “performance expectations” from the previous interview.
During the interview with the hiring manager, your objective is to engage in a discussion around actual issues that are important: Issue definition and potential alternatives for solutions. Since you already know the key issues and performance expectations, two items are key to your success:
- Shape your answers to the questions based on your prior interviews that will help solve the hiring manager’s issues. Lay out alternatives, pro’s/con’s and implications to those solutions.
- Develop an interactive relationship with the hiring manager. Their mental question will be: “What can this candidate bring to my organization that will add value to my results?” Your job is to answer that question without it being asked. Show Stopper questions are the key.
When the hiring manager sees you as a problem-solver to the issues that need resolution, you become a primary candidate. Now it’s just a question of “closing the deal”.