Want to Interview better? Think CounterIntuitively

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 intuitioncommon 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?







New Year – New Blog – New Idea!

It’s a new year, lots of big and small goals getting set and many will be accomplished – with one very unfortunate result for many people – no one, including you, will remember them…wait…what??

The black hole of forgotten accomplishments is something I run into with almost every candidate – it starts with a very boring “here’s what my job is” centric resume (hint -we know what a sales / coding / fill in the blank job is) and ends with me probing if a candidate has ever done A. B. or C and getting a “Oh yea, I did that, forgot all about it… I guess I should put that on my resume, right?”

So let’s start the new year and the new blog off with one of my all time best interview strategies – and it starts way before you ever interview.

1-Start a journal (a notebook will do just fine), word doc, just something, anything to write down your accomplishments  in one place.

2- This next step is key – **set up a weekly alert** – ideally you figure out a good time to do this and it becomes a habit – but keep the alert dinging – and write down what you accomplished  in the last week – big or small ones. Make it brief.

3-Quarterly review everything you wrote (set up a separate alert specifically for this) and start highlighting the good stuff…Why? This will become the key bullets for your resume and likely the key stories for your interview highlight reel (a future blog post).

Result – your resume will be much easier to assemble – it will be a better resume – and you will most certainly be a much better candidate to that hiring person on the other side of the desk !!

(Bonus – when you want to renegotiate your comp – this will come in VERY handy as well – if you forget what you accomplished – your boss probably did too…)