Applying for job after job online and not getting responses can be frustrating.
Want to know what's more frustrating than that? Going for interview after interview and never getting the job offer.
It's like giving everything you got in the race, feeling like you're ahead of the game, only to be defeated in the final stretch.
Your resumé is doing its job – you're getting interviews! But when they don't convert, you start to think "Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm not good enough in person."
And the worse part is you get zero feedback from the other side. You want to know what you're doing wrong, but when you ask, you get nothing.
The recruiter or hiring manager won't care. They'll just give you the same standard line over and over again – "You were not a good fit." or "We went with someone else who had more experience."
Fearing lawsuits, they'll give you "safe" feedback. Not helpful.
Fortunately, there is something you can do. You can adopt a new mindset to take with you to the job interview. This single mindset shift can make all the difference in how you answer every question:
The #1 Mindset: "How can I make the manager's life easier?"
I bet you're thinking "Huh? That's it? C'mon. There has to be more to it than that!"
Nope. It's a simple golden mindset that exists for every single job.
Not everyone comes to the job interview with this mindset. They think they do. But when the answers come out, the listener (the hiring manager) does not understand how their lives will be easier.
For example, let's start with the most common interview question: "Tell me about yourself".
Most job seekers give a run down of their resumé - the companies they worked for, their education, the hard skills they have.
How does such an answer tell the hiring manager how their life will be easier? Answer - it's doesn't.
Here are the make-their-life-easy ways to answer common interview questions:
#1 "Tell Me About Yourself"
Don't recite your resumé back to them. They've already read it. They want to hear something else. Instead, talk about 2 skills that you possess that will benefit the manager, and a real-life scenario where those skills made a difference.
Are you in health and safety? Talk about the audit pressure your manager feels and how your six sigma skills manages documentation and safety process
Are you in accounts receivables? Talk about how challenging some vendors make paying their bills, and how your negotiation and people skills gets them to pay on time, making your manager meet their targets month over month.
#2 "Why do you want this job?"
Don't just say "I believe I'm a good fit. I'm hardworking." There is no context in this answer.
Talk about a specific responsibility you saw, or something about the company you researched, and how your skills will help the hiring manager take this big responsibility of his or her hands so they can focus on other things.
Or how your past experience in collaborating with multiple teams will help the manager be successful managing that specific project you researched about.
#3 "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"
Don't say "Doing your job" or "I don't know" or "doing something completely different."
Talk about additional projects you can take on that will involve automation or saving the department time or money, so that your manager can refocus their resources on critical tasks.
You get the idea...
Hopefully, you're now starting to recognize a difference in what you're saying at the interview vs what you should be saying.
In today's competitive job market, you have to sell your skills, not tell it. In simple terms, selling is about solving customer problems. Marketing is about convincing someone you can solve their problems.
Want to know the most powerful words in marketing?
"I can do this, so that, you can do that."
"I can make this, so that, it can save x$."
"I can manage this, so that, you don't have to worry about x."
If you didn't get the job, it's most likely had something to do with the fact that you were not able to clearly articulate how you can make the manager's life easier.
In other words, you didn't have enough "so that's" in your answers.
You can have all the certifications and degrees in the world. That helps with only one aspect of the interview, your authority.
But certificates don't solve problems and don't make managers' live easier. It's the execution of your work that solves problems.
And the job will always go to the one candidate that was most able to convince the hiring manager their lives would be made easier, with the benefits your skills and experience brings to the organization.
After you're done reading this, take 5 minutes to ask yourself one simple question - "How do I make my manager's life easier?" It's a tougher question to answer than you think. Just keep adding the words "so that" to make the exercise easier.
And once you find that first answer, keep going, until you have a healthy catalogue of benefits you bring to your manager. That's the most important knowledge to be armed with at a job interview.