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    Professional Development

    3 Steps To Convincing A Hiring Manager You Re The Solution To All His Problems

    “It’s not about you, it’s about them.”

    If you remember that one phrase throughout your whole job search process, you’ll be ahead of the majority of the other candidates.

    I know what you’re thinking: This is supposed to be about me; I am here because this company wants to know what I have to offer. Kind of. But the fact is that the hiring manager really doesn’t care about you (yet).

    You’re there because he has a problem (a list of tasks that is so great a whole human being is needed to complete them) and is looking for a solution (a person qualified to complete them). You need to position your value as the answer to that burning need. And to do that, you first need to find out the problem.

    If you’ve ever been involved in the sales world, this concept might sound familiar. It might also sound like I’m recommending you sell yourself. Yes, this is a sales concept, but no I’m not suggesting that. Rather, I’m proposing you prepare for your interview with the idea of proving your value in mind.

    How does this work in practice?

    Ask Questions That Lets You Show Your Value

    It’s OK to ask questions at any point during your conversation-you don’t have to wait until the end. In fact, it actually makes for a smoother conversation if it’s not the hiring manager shooting off questions and you just sitting there responding on autopilot.

    Inquire about the department’s biggest challenge, what gaps the team has, and what the most urgent concern is right now. Ask about the vision for the company and what must happen for that vision to be realized. Say: “In the position you’re looking to fill, how do you best see the candidate helping you reach your goals?”

    How to Drive the Point Home

    After asking thoughtful, probing questions, taking notes, and getting a sense of the organization’s needs and giving relevant examples, you should have a pretty clear idea of what the hiring manager’s looking for. Use this to your advantage in your follow-up note. Rather than just sending a form “thank you,” try this: Recall key points of your conversation, including any ideas you generated as to how your value would translate into helping the company achieve goals:

    Hi [Name of Hiring Manager],

    It was great to meet you, and I enjoyed talking with you today about your goals for this year. It sounds like an exciting time to join the company! From what we discussed, it seems the areas that you could use help in to achieve those goals are: [the areas discussed here]. I believe my expertise in [area] is a great fit to address your issues, and I hope to have the opportunity to share more of my ideas with you during our next conversation.


    This type of letter is completely focused on the interviewer’s challenges and needs, and the ways that your experience can potentially provide a solution. It’s important to note the ratio of the use of second-person pronouns “you/yours” vs. first-person pronouns “I/me/my”-it’s six to three. Place the focus on the hiring manager and not on yourself, which brings me to my third point.

    Remember: It’s Not About You, It’s About Them

    The most successful salesperson knows that if a customer cannot envision himself using a product or service, he won’t make the sale. Similarly, in value-based interviewing you need to make sure the hiring manager has a clear vision of how you’re going to solve problems for him. This is done both through specific questioning and targeted answers that tell stories about who you are, what you’ve accomplished professionally, and what you will continue to do if hired.

    So, the next time you are preparing for an interview, take a little extra time to practice inserting questions that get the hiring manager candidly discussing his needs and, in turn, customizing your responses. This will help you avoid going off on tangents or failing to demonstrate how your background and experience can be a part of the solution. Yes, this strategy requires a little bit more thought-but it’ll all be worth it when you land the job.