How do you know what the hiring manager is most interested in when you’re interviewing for a job you want? Easy. Listen for two important giveaways. When an item on your resume isn’t asked about, forget about impressing the interviewer with details. But when the hiring an interviewer asks secondary or third level questions about one or two of your resume items, you know you’ve struck a chord and should go over the details of that experience. Here’s how it works.
Hiring managers generally want to know what you’ve done, how you did it, and what were the results? Your answers should be crisp, specific, and last about 30 seconds:
- State the issue you were trying to solve
- Identify the actions you took
- Define the outcomes of your efforts
If the interviewer doesn’t follow-up with additional questions, then listen for the next question. When the interviewer begins to ask follow-up questions, plan your answers carefully for now you know the problem area where the hiring manager needs help.
LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY. The follow-up questions of a hiring manager will tell you what the issues are that need solutions. The type of follow-up questions most likely will be:
- What were some the alternative solutions you considered?
- Why did you choose the final option? Take me through your thinking.
- How long did the effort take before you experienced success?
- How many and what kind of staff was required? Did you have to recruit to fill them?
- What was the cost of the project? What was the final budget?
- How did you sell management on the idea? What were Impediments to the process?
- Did you have to change the planned strategy? What kind of issues did you encounter.
- What did you learn from your experience that can be applied to a similar issue?
These are the kind of questions that a hiring manager asks when a candidate has had an experience similar to the one a hiring manager is experiencing. You have had a successful solution and may be able to solve the hiring manager’s issue. The questions they are asking seek information that may be translatable to solving their concerns. The more follow-up questions, the more detail they ask for, the bigger the issue is for them and the greater their interest in you. That’s why the follow-up questions are so important for you to understand. It reveals the real reason why you are being interviewed.
OPTIMIZE THE OPPORTUNITY. Since you now know the real issues of the open position, seek ways to optimize your candidacy by leveraging their interests by suggesting, “We considered a number of other alternatives to solve this issue.”, or “We made some adjustments after we began implementation”, or “The integration was made in three steps”. Then comes your killer question, “Would it be helpful to talk more about these solutions?”
Become a potential source for solving the problems of a hiring manager’s problem and you’ll become a top candidate.
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