In the business world, there is no limit to the amount of people who will swear to you that they have the solution to your problem – not just a solution, the solution. Having the solution to your problem is a clear indication to a sales pitch. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that an interview is really a sales pitch. It’s no different from a conversation with an agency trying to sell a client on a package or a project proposal.
This is exactly the reason why candidates oversell themselves during the interview process: They really want the job, and they’ll go to great lengths in attempting to convince an interviewer that they’re the right person for the job, even if they have to inflate the truth a little bit.
It can be understood then that taking the “sales pitch” aspect out of the interview can allow for everyone to be open and honest. Removing the sales pitch cuts out the noise and gets right to the heart of what needs to be discussed: either there’s a fit or there isn’t one (an important objective for employers, recruiters, and staffing agencies).
Luckily, there are a set of questions that can help anyone in the job interview process get to the clearest epicenter of an open conversation; it’s about asking questions that cut out all the noise and get down to the facts.
Question #1: Why is my company the right fit for you?
This question cuts through all the selling candidates prepare. He or she spent an abundance of time thinking about why he or she is perfect for your company. The interviewee has all of their accomplishments, milestones, and examples of growth (either factual or fabricated) in mind.
But when you hit the interviewee with this question, it gives the conversation a sequence of unfiltered truth. Here the interviewee will have to show that he or she carried out significant research about your company before the interview. The interviewee will also have to convey a clear connection between your company’s goals and their goals, both short-term and long-term.
This results in an answer with no noise or selling. It enables you to easily identify if this person is right for your business or if the person is simply selling you a tale. With this question, you are setting yourself up with the capacity to manage the interview like a shark.
Question #2: How will your projects impact our bottom line and how long until the bottom line feels your project’s impact?
This is a perfect question during the midpoint of the interview. It immediately illustrates whether the interviewee spent time discerning how his or her role impacts your company’s financials.
This separates the selling from the results and impact between work and potential ROI specific to your company. In addition, adding the factor of time allows you to take into account the level of the candidate’s comprehension of your company, product(s), and industry as a whole.
For instance, someone who doesn’t recognize the difference between the customer’s journey for a B2C and B2B product may not be the right fit for your company… If that type of viewpoint is crucial to your company’s success. But you won’t find this out if the interview is overridden by a long-winded sales pitch that generalizes too much and gets to the point too little.
Question #3: What are five initiatives you would carry out to grow my business in the next six months?
Again, timing is everything. Anyone can say they can grow your business in the next two years. But time is of the essence. Find out what the job seeker would do on day one in the interview. Providing this type of exercise in a mini-project or sample test is arguably like handing someone a textbook and a test to complete – when it comes to business, there isn’t always going to be support in figuring out complex issues.
Asking for five initiatives causes the interviewee to knock out the first three they had in mind prior to the interview, leaving two last possible initiatives. Here is where you can see the level of creativity and improvisation the interviewee is able to muster in a high-pressure situation. Since pressure is common in business, this question adds color to your understanding of your candidate’s approach.
All in all, these three questions are just the beginning – there’s plenty more you can ask a job seeker to help you determine which candidates simply tell you what you want to hear and which are coming in with facts, figures, and actionable insights.
When it comes to business, the latter is dire. Ask the right questions to find the right candidates for your business, and then develop the team you need to scale.
You can do this in a conventional setting or through a video interviewing platform.
About the Author
Alex Sal is a business journalist, startup entrepreneur, and frequent contributing writer for Markitors.com and Cake.HR. He is also a recent graduate of economics from Queens College.