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Walk Into the Meeting and Walk Out With the Job

By Janet White

Do you want to know how to walk into a job interview and walk out with a job? I’ll tell you, first but you have to do two things:

  1. Forget everything you’ve been told, read or believed about interviewing, and
  2. Be willing to apply some radically different strategies that may be totally opposite what you’re used to.

The concepts I’m about to share with you are very simple yet powerful, and they work. I know; I’ve used them for 35 years and have gotten every job I ever wanted. Use these concepts and like me, you can know with absolute assurance that when you walk into the meeting and decide you want it that you can walk out with the job.

As you learn these concepts, you may instinctively relate to them because they’re grounded in common sense, sound business judgment and an understanding of basic human psychology.

But you may also resist them because you’ve been taught to use a system of job hunting that defies logic, bypasses the realities of American business, and ignores the fact that people who hire are usually intelligent, are paid to make decisions, and have many of the same kind of thoughts, feelings and beliefs you do.

Concept # 1: A job interview is not a personal interrogation about you. You are not on trial; your personal and professional decisions are not available for inspection; and you do not have to provide a total stranger with answers to idiotic questions that have no bearing on why you’re sitting there talk to them.

I know this is opposite to what you’ve been taught. In fact, the whole premise of the traditional system of job hunting is that you are on trial; you do have to explain what and why you’ve done what you’ve done up to this point; and that answers to questions like, “If you had your life to live over again, what would you do differently?” actually matter.

No, they don’t.

Concept # 2: The only person (other than yourself) whose opinion about you matters is your future boss, “Mr. Bigg.” As an executive or department manager, Mr. Bigg is the only person in the company with the authority to hire you, so he is the only person you should be talking to.

Things will be a whole lot easier for you if you understand that, contrary to popular belief, Human Resources has far more important things to do than read resumes and conduct screening interviews, and recruiters are not in business to get job seekers jobs.

In fact, unless you are going for a job in Human Resources, no one in Human Resources can hire you. Unless you want a job as a recruiter, no recruiter on the planet can hire you. All these people can do is recommend potential candidates, and because they have the ability to say “no,” you may believe they have the authority to say “yes”. They don’t.

So bypass these intermediaries and approach Mr. Bigg directly. But if the meeting isn’t about you, who is it about?

Concept #3: This meeting is about Mr. Bigg, and he’s trying to determine if you can help him solve his problem. He has an unsolved problem or unmet opportunity (which is a different kind of problem), and to a very large degree, he already believes that you can help him solve it. If he didn’t believe that, he wouldn’t be wasting his very valuable time talking to you. So if you simply get the meeting, you’re halfway home to getting the job.

How do you know what his problem is? Do your homework – research the company, understand what’s happening in the industry and use your professional common sense. If you’re staying in the same industry, chances are the trends, laws and economic factors affecting your previous company are affecting all other companies in your industry.

Google the company and learn what’s going on, what products and/or services do they provide, for whom and why. Pretend you’re a potential customer (you are, actually) and play Sherlock Holmes. For a retail chain, go shopping. For a real estate company, visit their properties. For a magazine, read a year’s worth of back issue. You get the idea.

Now, there has to be something Mr. Bigg could want or need that you might be able to help him get. Is it more customers? Faster processing of orders? Higher sales? Increased market share? Additional business from current customers? Don’t think in terms of what you can do; think in terms of how what you do might benefit Mr. Bigg and his company.

But what if Mr. Bigg brings up things like that gap in your resume, how you don’t have the qualifications or that you’re not what he’s looking for? The traditional system of job hunting will have you explaining, defending and justifying yourself in an attempt to change Mr. Bigg’s conviction you’re not what he wants.

You can avoid this scenario by following the next and most important concept of all:

Concept #4: Get Mr. Bigg talking and keeping him talking about whatever is important to him for as long as he wants to talk about it.Everyone loves talking about themselves, and Mr. Bigg is no exception. Remember, this meeting is about him, his company and his problem and/or opportunity, and because he’s human, he will instinctively like you if you focus all your attention on him.

You do that by asking him a “trigger question” or making a “trigger statement” – based on your research – that will get Mr. Bigg talking and keep him talking about the things he is happiest talking about – himself and his company.

Trigger questions should be based upon your research and knowledge about the company and industry, and sound something like:

To a magazine editor: “That recent story you ran on high school entrepreneurs was terrific. Did you get a chance to try out some of their products?”

To a commercial real estate developer (pointing to a rendering of a new project): “What a great looking building. How’s the leasing going?”

To a design firm: “It seems every time I open a paper, I read about hospitals expanding or new clinics being built. No wonder you’ve focused on this market.”

To a financial services director: “I read many new businesses are started by people in their 40’s, 50’s and 70’s. What a unique opportunity you have with them.”

This then, is the secret to getting hired: Get Mr. Bigg talking and keep him talking because the more he talks about whatever is important to him, the more likely it is he will talk himself right into hiring you

Don’t worry about traditional job hunting questions and objections; Mr. Bigg should be too busy talking about himself to raise issues that will prevent him from hiring you. In fact, he will do everything he can to convince himself he has to hire you.

And you’ll find that rather than being an agonizing, nerve-wracking experience, getting hired is an awful lot of fun!