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Job Interview Strategies: How to Uncover the Interviewer's Hidden Needs

Bob Firestone -- Make no mistake about it ... Employers look for employees because they have a NEED. Don't mistake that the interview is about you -- it is really about their NEED.

You need to sell yourself as the right person to satisfy that need. Sure, you may have great experience, but what's in it for them?

Managers hire people in order to make their own job easier. How are you going to make the Hiring Manager's job easier? How are you going to make the Hiring Manager look good in THEIR boss's eyes? You need to make your skills, experience, and education relevant to THEM and their needs, goals, and situation.

After every statement you make to the Hiring Manager, you need to at least mentally add "... and this will make your job easier because..." or "... and this will make you look good because..." Imagine the Hiring Manager asking " how would that benefit me and my needs?" Make your answers and examples relevant to THEIR needs and communicate how hiring you will benefit THEM as well as the company.

If Managers hire based on their needs, then you are going to have to uncover and reveal their needs in order to come up with answers that will get your hired. Remember that every time a hiring manager asks you a question, you have earned the right to ask a question of your own. Questions are a great follow up to a winning answer.

Early on in the interview you should use your own questions to uncover the hidden needs of the Hiring Manager so that you can tailor your answers and attitude to show that you understand their needs and that YOU are exactly the perfect person to solve those needs.

Each interviewer will have his or her own hidden needs depending on their role. For example, a person in HR will want to be convinced that you understand the corporate culture, that you will fit in with the company, that you will get along with everyone, that you will not show any disruptive behavioral or ethical problems, and that you will generally be easy to deal with.

A person at the VP level will want to know that you are going to be an asset to his or her department and reflect well on him or her. The Hiring Manager will want to be assured that you will be dependable and that you are completely capable of doing what it takes to be successful at the position you are being interviewed for.

Remember that the Hiring Manager in particular will want to hire someone that:

1) they like, and are likable;
2) will make their job easier; and
3) will make them look good.

Each interviewer will also have their own set of hidden needs. Use the following questions early on in the interview to uncover hidden needs so you can frame your answers to speak to those needs:

-- "What could the ideal candidate do to make your job easier?"

-- "What would be the most important ability for a person to have in order to succeed in this position?"

-- "What are the most important short term goals for this department? What are the most important long term goals?"

-- "What are your formal goals as a manager? What kind of challenges are you facing in meeting these goals?"

-- "How is your success and the success of your department measured?"

-- "What does your boss expect of you and your team in terms of performance? What really makes your boss happy?"

-- "What qualities are you looking for in the right person for this position?"

-- "What kind of qualities and skills would it take to really succeed and make a difference at this position?"

-- "What would be the top priority of the person who accepts this job?"

-- "Can you describe a typical day for someone in this position?"

-- "What are the day-to-day expectations and responsibilities of this job? What would make that person a superstar?"

-- "What kinds of challenges are you currently facing in your department? How tough a position does this put you in? What would solve this problem for you?"

Bob Firestone is a business, career, and sales coach located in Los Angeles, CA. Bob has helped thousands of sales people and job seekers with his Utimate Guide to... series of books available at and

© 2006 Bob Firestone

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