Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What the interviewer is really thinking

What Your Interviewer is Really Thinking!
by Michael Pollock

So you' ve made it to the interview. Your networking worked. Your cover letter worked. Your resume worked. As you sit there facing the last hurdle, it is really important to have a sense of what might be going through your interviewer' s mind.

The first thing to understand is that she is not sitting there thinking, “ I really have to find a job for this person because he hasn' t worked in three months and he' s racking up credit card bills.” She is not thinking that. She is not there to solve your problems.

Be ready to listen to her, to understand why she is asking the questions that she' s asking and to answer them in a way that will help her, rather than in a way that will help you. Try and figure out what it was in your cover letter and resume that helped you make the cut. How was it you framed yourself that got you to this point?

Here are some things she might be thinking - some good and some bad. See if you can come up with some more, and be ready to help her out.

I hope this is the person - I am really sick of doing these interviews. He doesn' t seem to be the same person as he did in his resume.

How will Sheila like her? She' s always complaining that my creative team has too much attitude and doesn' t listen to her.

Will he be able to get up to speed quickly? I can' t afford the time for training and we have a huge backlog of work to get done.

Will he make me famous? Will I look like a chump if I hire this guy?

The last three people I hired lasted less than a year - I really need someone who can survive here.

Should I let her meet Jim to see if he likes her, or will he just scare her off? Let' s see how she handles criticism she' ll need a thick skin to survive here! Will he be a team player?

Does that even matter for this position?

Consider asking some questions of your own and don' t forget to listen to the answers. Smart people ask good questions and then they listen carefully to discover insights that can help them move the conversation forward in a productive fashion. In this way you can hear for yourself what the interviewer is thinking and use it to frame yourself as the solution to her problem.

Michael Pollock is President of Pollock Spark ( www.pollockspark.com ). He is an Executive Coach and Consultant to Creative and Media professionals. He works with people in film, TV, advertising, design, marketing, music and the Internet, bringing them the experience, techniques and inspiration to take their businesses and careers to new levels of success.

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