As much pressure as you feel being out of work —and I’m not minimizing how rough that is—there is much pressure on the hiring manager from your next company who has to decide whether to hire you or not.
Although on the surface he or she is trying to hire you to fill a specific position, what is going on inside their conscious and unconscious mind is whether hiring you will result in their getting that raise and promotion.
Or it will result in their boss’ saying to them six months down the road, “What the heck were you thinking when you hired that person? Were you out of your mind? Not only do we now have to find the right person for that job and then catch up with what that person was supposed to do, we now have to go through getting rid of the person you brought in.”
Therefore, the more you can increase the hiring manager’s confidence and lower their worries and fear of a bad hire, the more likely you get hired and set yourself up for future success.
To do that, you should be able to answer the following questions convincingly because this is what is really on that hiring manager’s mind concerning you.
- Be Verifiable
“Please provide us with references to people who you have worked for or with and we will check them out regarding the following.”
Make sure you have such references. A hiring manager isn’t necessarily going to believe what you say about what you’ve done until they check with your former co-workers and bosses.
It’s not anything personal against you. It’s just that what people report about themselves is not often accurate.
- Be Recent
“What have you gotten done in the recent past, as in last 18 months?”
If it’s longer than that, even if you still know how to do it, you will not likely be able to hit the ground running. Make sure you have an explanation of gaps in your employment and how you have augmented your skills in that timeframe.
- Be Relevant
“What are you most proud of accomplishing and what about that makes you believe that it is relevant to this job?”
This involves you knowing as much or more about the requirement of the job you’re applying for than what the hiring manager may even know. Make sure to do your research before you apply.
- Be Positive
“What positive and negative outcomes(s) did you achieve and what did you learn from each?”
It’s okay for you to make mistakes. Employers don’t want you to turn out to be someone who keeps repeating the same mistakes and not learning from them.
- Know the Metrics
“What were the measurable achievements that you were able to achieve?”
Metrics, metrics, metrics. The more you can show metrics related to your accomplishments, the better.
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- Be Results Driven
“What were the actual results you achieved?”
The hiring manager doesn’t want to hear things that are too subjective and intangible. They are looking to be able to see actual tangible results so that they can believe you.
- Make it Personal
“Which of the positive, measurable results above were you instrumental in achieving, as opposed to merely being in the right place at the right time, and what exactly did you do?”
You want to be able to identify which of the results you were responsible for versus riding along on the coattails of other people’s success. If you weren’t mainly responsible for the results, what specifically did you do to help your team get them?
- Take the Initiative
“What is your ability and what has been your track record to get things done when you hit obstacles and setbacks and give some examples of each?”
You want to be able to show how you have handled obstacles and adversity. Are you passive and do you wait until someone else steps in, or do you take the initiative?
- Be Resourceful
“What is your ability and what has been your track record of accessing resources outside yourself and outside a group that you are working in to accomplish something? Give an example of how you went about doing that.”
Companies are looking to see if you can tap into resources outside yourself and when you have done so.
- Make it Sustainable
“What have you been able to accomplish or set into motion that will last without you?”
They will be looking to see if you not only work collaboratively and cooperatively with others but if you do it in a way that others can fill in if for some reason you are unable to continue.
Another use for having answers to these questions.
When you are hired, always work toward being able to answer these questions when it comes to your performance review and when you are trying to make a case for getting a raise or a promotion. Just going through the questions and being able to answer them will by itself boost your confidence and show you that you have value.
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Dr. Mark Goulston is an award-winning business psychiatrist, a consultant for Fortune 500 companies and the best-selling author of seven books. His latest, Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with Irrational and Irresponsible People in your Life can be found on Amazon. Catch up on Dr. Goulston’s previous articles here.
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