Once a job applicant makes it to the interview stage, their biggest hurdle is the hiring manager’s overloaded brain.
Hiring managers can easily forget about even exceptional job candidates like you. They have too much on their minds. They can have a great conversation with you on Tuesday, and completely forget about you by Wednesday.
I was an HR person for millennia. I would walk around the building and ask department managers about their interviews from the day before.
Here’s how those conversations would often go:
Me: Hi Mickey! How’s your day going?
Mickey: So far so good. Listen, do you have any more interviews set up for me?
Me: Nothing set up right now, but if we need to see more candidates, we can. That’s why I stopped by. What did you think of Miranda?
Mickey: Miranda….I’m trying to remember.
Me: I brought her over here yesterday afternoon at 2:30. She’s about my height, curly brown hair — she works at Acme Explosives now. She trains agility dogs. Ringing any bells?
Mickey: Geez, I’m drawing a blank. What’s an agility dog?
Me: She went to the University of Iowa —
Mickey: Okay, okay! Yikes, was that only yesterday? I remember her. It took me a second. Yes, yes — Iowa. Miranda’s awesome. She’s really talented. If you have someone else you really want me to interview I’ll do it, but I think Miranda can do the job.
Me: Well heck, then let’s get her an offer!
End of Script
Everybody is overwhelmed. There is too much data coming in all the time. We are all suffering from information overload.
Miranda undoubtedly went home from her interview singing a happy song, knowing that she and Mickey had a fruitful and wide-ranging conversation and that she and Mickey might make a great team.
Mickey had the same reaction to their meeting at the time — but he forgot all about Miranda by the next day!
As a job seeker, you can easily be forgotten too. Most job interviews are deadly boring affairs, and that’s not the job-seeker’s fault. The traditional, godawful interview script is one of the biggest problems.
The script with its goofy, insulting questions reduces what should be a pithy human conversation to an oral exam.
In order to be memorable, you have to get your interviewer off the script. Here is a great way to do that.
You will be memorable when you Spin the Table in a job interview to change the subject to something more important to your possible future boss than boring interview questions.
You want to get your manager talking about his or her pain!
Spin The Table
You can spin the table at a job interview to get your hiring manager talking about his or her Business Pain instead of asking dopey interview questions like “What’s your greatest weakness?”
You can spin the table when your manager asks you “So, tell me about yourself!” or any open-ended question.
Manager: So, tell me about yourself!
You: For sure! I’m a Project Manager and I love it, I work at Acme Explosives right now and I saw your ad and thought ‘I’ve heard great things about Angry Chocolates — maybe this is my next great adventure!’ I could keep you here all afternoon hearing my story — can I ask you a quick question about the job?
Manager: Sure, go ahead.
You: Well, I know you grew 20% last year and added a licensing arm, which is very exciting. I think you’re in about six international markets so far….?
Manager: I think it’s eight now.
You: So my question is, how will your new Project Manager help you surmount the hurdles that international expansion brings?
Manager: Great question! This job is all about that. I’m putting our Senior Project Manager Gail in charge of international, which means I need someone to manage our domestic new product launches.
You: To set up a great new-product development process that will get those launches to happen smoothly and on time —
Manager: That’s it.
You: With your growth, I’d guess that the new product development process hasn’t necessarily been well-documented or disseminated yet —
Manager: We’re still in “just get it done somehow” mode, like any startup, and we need more rigor in the process.
You: Fantastic — that leads to my next question…
End of Script
A forgettable job applicant sits meekly in their chair and answers questions.
They don’t dig into the meat of the job and the likely issues (Business Pain points) the manager is facing. That’s why the manager forgets them. They never became significant to him or her as a person who could solve the manager’s biggest problem.
A mojofied job seeker like you takes a consulting approach. They don’t want to work for anybody who can’t talk about their problems.
They need their job interviews to be human conversations between equals — and when they step out of the Good Little Job Seeker box to start a real conversation, that’s what they get.
Be memorable at every job interview — and remember that only the people who get you deserve you!
This article was written by Liz Ryan | June 16, 2017