SAGE ADVICE FOR RESUMES, INTERVIEWING, AND MORE!
- By bruce w clagg
INTERVIEWING! (Part 2 of 2) - What is “W.I.I.F.M.” and Why Does it Matter?
If you have read my previous post regarding “Interviewing,” you are quickly gaining the ideas on why interviewing is generally not a glorious event for the candidate, the HR/recruiter specialist, and especially for the hiring decision-maker (DM).
Human Resources Generalist/Internal-External Recruiter: (S)he is trying to match the Human Resources Requisition items to skills and experience of the candidate’s resume. I’m assuming that the opening was posted, they received thousands of resumes, utilized the parsing (ATS) software, and only about 300 survived.
They are going item for item comparing the two documents and if (s)he believes that this candidate might be a suitable fit, they are now put in queue for “the phone call.” A call to eliminate the candidate from consideration since most DMs cannot, will not interview more than 6, or so people. Most candidates readily take that phone call to eliminate themselves although they are not at all prepared.
This could take quite a bit of time and this is only a single position! How many other positions are sitting in HR to undergo the same process? Once the “final” group is identified, then those resumes are sent to the DM for review and comments. One huge hurdle to get to the desk of the person that can approve your hire!
The Candidate: Most candidates realize that the local, newspaper classifieds don’t have much anymore, but, HEY, there’s the Internet! Sadly, less than 15% of all positions are posted; 85+% are not! Eh, THIS looks like something worthwhile! “Apply Now” is clicked and off to Human Resources you go (a small percentage to recruiters).
If your resume is well-written, it hopefully survived the ATS software scan and is now on the desk of an HR Generalist…a nice person that can deny your hire, but never approve it. I strongly suggest NEVER taking that phone call since THEY are ready to go and you, however, are NOT prepared. Play “hard to get!” It works during “dating life” and will work here since EVERYONE takes the call. You’re unprepared, so schedule a day/time to GET prepared!
Interview is set! With whom? HR…the recruiter/the Generalist? They have read your resume, so far – so good, but now they are going to pick apart your resume, see how you react, what vibrant questions you have, or don’t have, appearance, tangibles and intangibles. This is a “beauty contest” of sorts and can be very difficult for the candidate.
You survived. Now the continuing interview(s). With whom? The DM, a “panel interview” with God-knows-who in attendance at a single table; the “gauntlet interview” where you meet with each person and they take a whack at you until you’ve seen all? Why doesn’t the DM do the interview, make the decision and that’s the end of it? It’s called “shared blame” in case this hire doesn’t work out!
The Hiring Decision Maker (DM): From my previous post, initially most DMs give thought to the challenges, issues, problems that will face the successful candidate and then go to their “network,” and/or Human Resources. A list of Requirements/Qualifications are built that have nothing to do with those issues, challenges, and problems! "I’ll continue to use my Top 32/64/128 questions during the 60 – 70 minute interview!" Another interrogation.
What is the “goal” of the DM? I’ve asked this question a lot of my executive and management clients. “Uh, to hire the best candidate!” If that’s true, why is it that most DMs are doing a mental coin-flip after they’ve made the Offer, or just before? Hum? Is it because you’re hoping that that “best candidate” becomes the “right employee?” "Uh, yes, I suppose it is!” My suggestion is simple; INTERVIEW FOR THE RIGHT EMPLOYEE IN THE FIRST PLACE!”
Put aside all of those questions that do not contain a single solution from the candidate regarding those challenges, issues, problems that they will face as soon as they occupy that new chair! Generally there are 2 to 4 major issues, so type each one on a single sheet, print it and when introduced to the new candidate…”Janet, this interview will be a bit different. I’ve prepared the major issues and challenges that will face our successful candidate. I’ll walk you to our conference room and I would like you to provide in writing your best solution. If you’ve never encountered that “challenge” before, tell me, but then ‘hypothetically, I would….,’ so I don’t penalize you, but gain an understanding of your thinking processes and management styles (if applicable).” You'll quickly know who can meet the challenges and who cannot!
Every person that has ever interviewed a candidate has something subliminal sitting on his/her shoulder…WIIFM! What’s In It For Me? The candidate trying to “sell themselves” will seldom hit the mark. Who CONTROLS the interview? Everyone, but the candidate? Okay, true, but how? I wouldn’t want a candidate to take control of “my” interview and my time! The person asking the questions controls the interview for that moment in time! The DMs generally have no shortage of them, but most candidates, none. WIIFM goes both ways!
TMAY is not always the first interviewing question, but typically it is. “Tell Me About Yourself” and candidates assume that the interviewer has never read their resume! A BORING, RAMBLING STORY and NO WIIFM at all! In the end, every employee from Janitor to CEO can only do one, or two things for an organization; you either make us money, save us money, or both. Get to the point in the fewest, most powerful words possible remembering THEY’VE READ YOUR RESUME! This will cause a pause while the interviewer digests that WIIFM and FIRE ONE ON YOUR FIRST QUESTION! “Mr. Smith, may I ask YOU a question?” (Executives/Managers LOVE answering smart, business questions!) “What do you believe are the issues, challenges, problems that will face your successful candidate for this position? May I take some notes?” NOTE- HR/recruiters won’t know, the DM never thinks to tell them! (S)he will need to think a moment and then out they come. Not minor issues, but major ones! Now, candidate, ask permission to SELL THE FIT - "May I suggest a/some solution(s)?!" The “fit” to what? The issues, the challenges! Instant “WIIFM” for the interviewer, and this starts to create a dialog, rather than the (generally) useless interrogation and follow the questions provided (by your Professional Career Coach - CPCC) based upon with whom the candidate is interviewing. The candidate is more comfortable in not blindly selling themselves and since this is quickly becoming a dialog, the DM sees, probably for the first time, that this interview is enjoyable, has great value, and clearly separates the candidates, albeit some look terrific on paper, but never came close to asking the right questions, providing WIIFM, and clearly separating themselves. Ah-ha…the best solutions come from the potential “right employee!” No mental coin flipping (or minimized) now, and the candidate probably just increased their value. WIN/WIN!!
I spend several sessions with my clients to get to this point, but almost without exception their feedback regarding the interview is extremely positive, much easier, and they gain The Offer! My corporate clients make better selections and reduce costly employee turnover! Now, do you, the candidate, accept the first Offer? Roughly 97% of Americans do! Mr./Ms. DM, are you expecting a "deal?"(Something for another day!) Good luck out there!
Hello! I'm Bruce Clagg,
Advanced Career Solutions
Advanced Career Solutions (ACS) is a professional resume writing services firm also providing unique, job interview training, LinkedIn Profile rebuilding, career counseling & coaching from the ONLY certified professional* in Texas. - Bruce W. Clagg, Rapid Employment & Career Management Coach
*The four Certifications are noted within.