Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It’s not about you, dude. It’s about them.

Our candidates AND clients hear this all the time.  You can use this idea in a lot of circumstances, but in this context it’s most relevant in Interview preparation and Resume writing.

Let’s take the Resume for example, from a candidate’s point of view.  I never recommend having an ‘Objective’ on a resume.  Why?  Because the reader (your potential boss) simply doesn’t care about your objective, he cares about his own objective -  “Can you solve the problem I have?”   A well written resume, from a strong candidate, shows a range of examples of achievement which could be recreated for a new employer.  Does your resume just show that you know stuff, or does it show that you solve problems for other people?

In an Interview setting, a very powerful strategy is to answer a ‘meaty’ question by telling a story.  Short.  Complete.  Detailed.  At the end of this story, wrap up by creating dialogue with the interviewer by inviting her to comment -  “Did that answer your question?”   “Is that similar to the objectives you’d like to tackle first?”   What we’ve done here is to emphasize some of the focus on the Interviewer and her company’s objectives, instead of just playing verbal ping-pong and keeping the focus solely on you!  Are you telling stories that they can relate to?

Let’s try this from a hiring company’s point of view –  Sure, you’ve got an open position, and in an era of high unemployment, there must be a million people who want it, right?  Guess what.  It’s not about you, dude.  It’s about them.  If you just want a warm body, keep the focus solely on yourself.  If you expect to hire someone really good – an A-Player – you’ve got to focus on them too!    Here’s a strategy that can get your candidates more engaged:  About halfway through the interview, let the conversation soften a bit, and ask the candidate a telling and powerful question -  “If you were to accept this position and start working here, what’s in it for you personally and professionally?”  Then sit back, be quiet, and use good active listening skills.  This is where you’re going to get the most valuable information of the entire session! 

Asking a human being to trade their time and effort for money and benefits is partly transactional, and very very personal.   Make sure you’re addressing both parts.

Now go change your vector!