OK thats a bit of a mouthful – so lets start with a look at the definition of counterintuitive;
Counterintuitive means contrary to what seems intuitively right or correct. A counterintuitive proposition is one that does not seem likely to be true when assessed using intuition, common sense, or gut feelings.
It’s probably fair to say if you are interviewing, that you are looking for an opportunity that is going to be good for you and your career, right? That being the case, it means you need to understand as much as possible about what is involved in that job and what that means to you. In other words – whats in it for me?
Here’s where things get interesting when I’m working with my coaching clients, we talk about how obvious it is to evaluate an opportunity in order for you to make an informed decision, the problem is, until you have an offer, you really don’t have a decision to make. In other words, when you first begin your search, you are looking out for you (totally correct and normal), however the company likely has a different agenda at first, ie. trying to figure out if you are the person to help them.
Its incredibly important to understand most interviews are going to work this way. That is, the hiring company has the first decision – offer or no offer. Your goal in the interview should now become “I want to be the solution to your problem, and not be concerned with whats in it for me.”
That might not sound like a big shift, but it is huge, and extremely counterintuitive from where we started.
How does this help you interview better? Thinking and planning this way now free’s you up when you interview, to just concentrate on solving the companies problem at hand. In the four walls of the interview you are never a “buyer”, no need to ask what the opportunity is for you. Concentrating on selling, and remembering you are the “product” will keep you single minded and focused, and likely make it easier for the interviewer to see you as their “solution”.
Often the next coment we hear is – I need to know x,y,z to make a decision though. I don’t disagree at all, but the reality is you will likely learn 95% of what you need to know about a position just going through the process. Then it is extremely easy AFTER you have an offer, to have one final sit down with the hiring manager to ask any unanswered questions, and to make sure you are both “on the same page” moving forward. I actually find most managers welcome that last meet to make sure expectations are managed in both directions.
So, think counterintuitive when you plan your interview strategy and you will put yourself in position more often to evaluate offers…. and isn’t that what you really want?