Preparing Answers to the Three Underlying Questions of All Hiring Managers

By Roy Young

My marketing background leads me to view the job interview as the penultimate step in a consumer buying decision. As a job seeker, the interviewer is your potential customer: you want him to buy you. To get a job offer, think of the interviewer as a customer who wants to know if you, the product, are going to help him solve his business problems. Your marketing strategy must lead him to answer “yes.”

The consumer is a manager whose most important responsibility is hiring great people to solve his business problems. To make a buying decision, he has three simple yes or no questions:

  1. 1. Will you contribute?

  2. 2. Will we like you?

  3. 3. Will you commit?

    1. Throughout the interview, you must provide information that helps him answer “yes” to each of these three buying decision questions. However, to get reliable answers about you, he will not ask you these buying decision questions directly. Getting to a “yes” or “no” requires that he ask you other questions that will give him the information he needs.

      As a buyer, he will focus on the Information on your resume that raises doubts. Holding a job for less than a year, gaps in your experience timeline, frequent changes in direction all make the interviewer think you are not a contributor, others do not like you and/or you cannot commit.

      A Successful Marketing Strategy Requires Five Elements
      1. 1.Stay on offense throughout.  Regardless of the questions you are asked, the answer is the same: you are a problem solver. Whether you want to emphasize one problem with a significant achievement or many different types of problems that you solved, the message is the same: you have been a contributor in the past, and the past is the best predictor of the future.
      2. 2.Use people examples.  You work well with others. You recognize the importance of other people in the work you do. And other business professionals enjoy working with you. You improve the work environment.
      3. 3.Focus on the future.  The buyer wants to get to a brighter future when his current problems are no longer problems. Make him believe results will improve.
      4. 4.Communicate with confidence.  Speak slowly to be understood and to allow you time to formulate relevant answers. Listen carefully so you answer the questions, not other ideas.
      5. 5.Smile.  Show that you are enjoying the discussion. This tells the interviewer you like him and will enjoy working with him and others.
      6. Bring this marketing mindset to your interviews. That is, the hiring manager has a problem or pain, and you, the product, are the solution. Remember, when deciding whether or not to make you a job offer, the interviewer seeks simple answers to three questions: will you contribute?; will we like you?; and will you commit? Regardless of the seemingly indirect questions you are asked during the interview, your answers need to get him to say “yes” to each of these key buying decision questions.