Organizations hire new employees because they have to satisfy essential demands. They need something they currently don’t have. You are the potential solution to their problem.
As you explore job opportunities and snag interviews, don’t overlook the advantages you can gain from getting a solid grasp on a company’s pain points. The more you understand your potential employers’ needs, the easier it is to claim your role in the solutions.
You Are the Aspirin
The entire purpose of job interviews is to find the right medication for a pain point. You might very well be the prescription a company needs, but you have to be confident of that yourself in order to convince them.
You can also think of it as matching square pegs to square holes. There are square holes, round holes, and octagonal holes out there. You want the right fit just as much as they do. The ultimate goal here is synergy.
To put it more academically, as an “unsecured worker,” you want to demonstrate a capacity for synthetic learning optimization. That means you can take a set of facts, apply them to a situation, and derive multiple outcomes. Then, you prioritize those outcomes and determine the best course of action. Hopefully, hiring you is the optimum course of action for both you and the employer. If you understand why you’re the best candidate, you can communicate that and rise to the top in the selection process.
Mastering the Interview Puzzle
We often approach interviews like a sales pitch with one goal: to land the job. But you want to land the right job. If you’re a round peg trying to fit into a square hole, you (and your boss and co-workers) will end up frustrated. If you don’t fit the hole, you’ll be fit to be tied.
That’s why preparation is the most important piece of the interview puzzle. Preparation is where you identify and ruminate on the company’s pain point. If you walk into that room and still don’t understand their needs, you’re in trouble before a word is spoken.
The best place to start your research is on the organization’s website. Study that thing like your career depends on it…because it actually does! Glean every piece of information you can from how the company presents itself online. Move on to contacting people. Try to find the architect of the website. Call the office and ask employees about the culture and values there.
Throughout your prep work, think about the company’s business model and culture, and make connections between the job available and the overall mission of the company. Determine how the individual tasks you would complete on a daily basis would contribute to the company’s bottom line. Where do you grease the wheels as projects move through the pipeline? Can you sense any headaches created between departments or processes?
Create questions out of any holes in your research, and write them down for the interview. If you can’t find holes, plan to ask open-ended questions to verify your research. Either way, make sure you go in with a list of questions — a lack of questions signals that you’re disinterested, lazy, or lacking in curiosity. None of those traits are feathers in your cap.
Your performance throughout the interview should resemble a chess match. Seeing the entire board is critical. You’re not simply moving one piece at a time, but responding to each piece as it’s moved to determine your own next move. You’re not looking for an easy checkmate; instead, your goal is a long game ending in a solid stalemate. You want to find the right answer together.
When you go into an interview for a job you really want, embrace your role as a natural cure for what ails them. Be confident in your strengths. You could be just the remedy they need.
Steve Musick is the CEO of Destiny Capital, a financial advising firm he founded in 1977. In addition to wealth management, Steve is an author, speaker and lecturer on the subject of Entrepreneurial Leadership. He recently launched Empowerium as an entrepreneurial platform to fuel business growth.
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