Focus on WIIFT instead of WIIFM to Interview Your Best

By Eric P. Kramer, Senior Career Consultant

As regular readers of “Your Career Advocate” know, I sometimes feature the writing of other people in this space. I thought this article by Eric P. Kramer would be an ideal selection, because many clients have recently been asking about how to increase their effectiveness at interviews. Eric’s expert perspectives on interviewing will be helpful to all our readers, I am sure.
– Ford R. Myers

Most job candidates know that they need to focus on “job requirements” in order to sell themselves into the position. However, at the interview, many applicants make the mistake of focusing their answers on their own perspectives and needs (“what’s in it for me” or WIIFM) rather than on the company’s perspectives and needs (“what’s in it for them” or WIIFT). Here are five suggestions to help shift your focus to WIIFT:

Listening is the most important part of an interview; and you thought talking was! The beginning of any interview should be the interviewer talking about their perspectives and needs, and you LISTENING LISTENING LISTENING. Applicants are typically too eager to tell the interviewer about all their great skills and qualifications and the wonderful things they’ve achieved at prior jobs. This prevents the candidate from learning what specific attributes they possess that would be of most benefit to the company.

#2 Forget, initially, why you want the job and why it’s a good opportunity for you.
WIIFT is based on a total focus on the company, the job, and what you can do to make the organization more successful. Talk as if you “live to serve,” and as though your mission is to improve their bottom line. Once you’ve convinced the employer that you’re the best candidate and they want to offer you the position, you can shift the focus to your needs – to topics such as salary, health care, vacation, etc. But if you focus on these items too early, you’ll appear too self-serving and not motivated to actually perform the duties for which you’ll be hired.

#3 Be specific about WIIFT, and don’t leave them guessing.
Your attitude should be (and you should keep repeating), “Hire me, and here’s what will be in it for you!” Too many applicants simply talk about their background, skills and experience – and just answer a series of interview questions. For example, rather than saying, “I have experience with Microsoft products,” say “I know Power Point very well, which means that I can produce all the presentations you mentioned that you need every month!” (You got this tidbit from LISTENING LISTENING LISTENING). See the difference? You went from, “I have experience with Microsoft products” to a major WIIFT statement!

#4 WIIFT is mostly based on making the Hiring Manager’s life easier.
The hiring manager will say all sorts of nice things about the job and the company. But how will you be serving the needs of customers and helping to grow the company? Bottom line, she’s hiring you to make her life better and easier! What does she need specifically? Is it more organization or productivity? More problems solved or sales increased? Does she need a troubled division or team fixed, quality improved, less hassle from her boss? Once you know her specific needs and problems (also known as “pain points”), make it very clear how you’ll solve those problems and address those needs. This is WIIFT on steroids!

#5 Come prepared with a plan.
It’s not enough simply to talk about what you’ll do for the company. Instead, present a 30/60 day strategic action plan. Companies love candidates with a plan. So, in writing, show them your goals for the first 30 days and 60 days. This communicates how you’ll add value quickly to the company, and just how you’ll do it. If you need help creating your presentation, go to for guidance on this subject.

Ultimately, your job search is all about WIIFM. But to land the job you want, you have to strongly present WIIFT first. Once the employer determines that you’re the best choice, you’ll be in a much better negotiating position – and you’ll get a larger helping of WIIFM!


Eric P. Kramer is a published author and Founder of Innovative Career Strategies (ICS). ICS is in the forefront of using innovative strategies to help career-minded professionals managed their careers and find new jobs. With a background in software development and career management, Eric is constantly searching for, using, and evaluating new career management strategies.

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles have appeared in thousands of publications and web sites, and he has been interviewed on every major television and radio network. Ford has also conducted presentations at hundreds of companies, associations and universities. Learn more at

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