The Job Search Success Interview

By Ford R. Myers
President, Career Potential, LLC

Ford was recently one of several career experts interviewed for a new book titled 10 Minute Job Search Success. It was compiled by marketing and career coach Marc Kronish. Below is the content of that interview, which we think you will enjoy and find very helpful.

Instead of just being another applicant or job seeker, we are now positioning every client to be an expert, a problem-solver and a solution provider. This has made all the difference.

Marc: What’s your favorite strategy or technique that’s working really well for your clients to find the job or career path that they are looking for?

Ford: What I’ve been doing that’s working really well is teaching clients how to change their entire mindset about job search and career management. It’s a very different perspective that we’re using, and a new way of positioning themselves. It shifts their self-concept dramatically. And it’s getting better feedback, better input, better job offers, and better career management success. I think it’s better than anything that I’ve introduced in the past several years.

Marc: What have you advised in the past and what is the mindset that you are suggesting now that is making such a difference?

Ford: In the past, like most other career coaches, I would help people with their documents and interview skills. I would do career assessments, help clients to learn networking, negotiating and all the other important elements, as well as creating a complete portfolio of job seeking tools. The difference now is that I teach clients something vital, and that is to stop thinking of themselves as a job applicant and start thinking of themselves as an expert. Instead of acting like a candidate, we show our clients how to act like a problem-solver. Instead of just being another applicant or job seeker, we’re now positioning every client to be an expert, a problem-solver and a solution provider. This has made all the difference.

Our clients are now able to completely separately themselves from all the other millions of other job seekers that are out there. They talk, act, and behave differently. Their correspondence is different. Their body language is different. Everything has shifted and the results have been truly phenomenal.

Marc: Does this process start from the beginning with the tools that we’re using to try to get the interview – whether it’s a resume or a cover letter? Or is it more focused on the interviewing process and having that type of expert mindset, or is it all encompassing?

Ford: It’s all-encompassing. I would say the most dramatic difference is what you’ll see at the interview. I’ll give you an example. What candidates usually do at an interview is sit down in the interviewer’s office, fold their hands in their lap, and wait nervously to be peppered with difficult questions.

Well, we don’t do that. What we do is tell our client to come in to the interview room, sit down, make nice chitchat, be friendly, and build rapport. And then when the interview starts to get down to business, what my clients do is open-up their portfolio, have a pen in their hand and their pad ready, and they ask the first question.

That first question is: ‘How may I be of help to you?’ Or, if you want to say it differently: ‘What may I do to be of service?’ But regardless of how you say it or specifically what words you use, it’s the same question. And in about five seconds, this completely shifts the dynamic of the entire conversation. It changes the balance of power and it creates a totally different kind of dialogue. We don’t send clients in there cold; we practice this ahead of time so they get comfortable with the concept and with this kind of behavior. We even teach the client how to overcome any kind of objection. For example, if the interviewer says, ‘What do you mean, how can you help me? I thought you were here for a job. Aren’t you here to apply for a position?,’ we teach clients how to answer that question. Perhaps for the first time, they have a truly productive conversation rather than an interrogation. The employer can see if there’s a good match. The hiring manager can assess how the candidate can be of most help and service. And here’s something else you might find interesting – if the candidate determines that they’re not the right fit or not the best candidate for the job, he or she would refer the interviewer to another candidate who would be a better fit. That’s what people do when they provide top level service.

I do the same thing in my business. If I talk to a prospective client and I’m not the best person to help them, I don’t just say, ‘Well goodbye, see you later. What I do is provide them with a referral because I am service-oriented. I offer a referral to another professional who could better fit their needs. And that’s exactly what we train our clients to do when it turns out that they’re not the best fit.

Marc: I think this is a great approach. I think what happens at interviews is that we forget from our past jobs that we are actually experts in our fields. We go back in to the mindset of ‘I need to be interrogated now.’ I’m trying to get a job. I need you to help me; you’re just in that frame of mind. And it really should be, as you said, ‘I’m here to help you, I’ve done this before and I know what I’m doing.’ This is the position you have open and I know I can fulfill it because I’ve done this before and I can help you.

Ford: And better than that, it actually works especially if the person practices and gets used to this idea. Now if the interviewer says: ‘What do you mean, how can you help me? I thought you were here for a job. Don’t you need a job?’ The candidate would then say something like: ‘Yes, Mr. Smith, I am seeking a new opportunity. I understand from your advertisement (or recruiter or previous conversations) that you have a need here. There’s a gap that needs to be filled. There’s something that isn’t working and you want it to be fixed, or some aspect of your business needs attention, isn’t that right?’ Then the candidate says: ‘Well, I have a great deal of expertise, just the kinds of things that were described in the job description. My goal here today is to learn more about your needs, problems, and challenges, so that I can see if my assets, strengths, and experiences align with what you’re looking for. If there is a fit, then I would be very happy to work with you. If there isn’t a match, I can refer you to someone who may be the right fit. So, why don’t we get started? You can tell me more about your needs, challenges, and problems at the XYZ Company.

Marc: Yes, the whole interview now completely turned around and you’re in control of it.

Ford: That’s right, so it’s more of a consultative approach. Again, I always tell my clients to stop acting like an applicant and start acting like a consultant. Stop acting like a candidate and start acting like a problem solver. As soon as they shift into that mindset, the entire dynamic changes, they really have a chance to position themselves not only for a better position, but for more money, more recognition, and more career growth. Not only that, but now the candidate has completely differentiated himself or herself from all the other candidates.

Let me remind you of something, in 1961 John F. Kennedy at his inaugural address said: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country!’ If we simply replace the word ‘country’ with ’employer,’ then the message becomes: ‘Ask not what your employer can do for you. Ask what you can do for your employer!’ As soon as you do that, you’re in the winner’s circle. Then you have a chance to do something great and to produce real results in your job search.

Marc: That is extremely important. From a marketing perspective, your product is yourself. You talked about value proposition as far as salary is concerned. You’re making yourself the expert. The interviewee is now thinking, ‘I wonder how much they’re going to offer me?’ You now get to dictate that, to a large extent.

Ford: You put your finger on it. They are acting like a consultant, small business owner, or entrepreneur. They are completely focused on adding value. They will be paid in direct relation to how much value they can provide. They’ll be paid and recognized in direct proportion to how well and how powerfully they can address the company’s needs, challenges, and problems. The key is to identify the employer’s issues, and take away their pain. This is very, very important.

This brings up another subject, which are accomplishment stories. When the employer tells you what their needs, problems, and challenges are, as a candidate you don’t just say, ‘Oh yes, I’m good at that.’ Instead, the smart candidate will seize this opportunity to tell one of his or her accomplishment stories, with very clear and specific illustrations on how similar problems, needs, and challenges were successfully addressed at a previous employer. When you tell very clear and descriptive accomplishment stories that relate to the employer’s needs and problems, the employer can really picture you at their company, joining their team and helping to solve the issues. The job is basically sold at that point. Then, it’s a question of ‘how much do we pay and let’s get started.’

As I stated earlier, when you position yourself as an expert, you also separate yourself from the whole crowd of job-seekers. Let’s face it – nobody likes a job-seeker. Nobody likes someone begging for money or an opportunity or a position. But, everyone loves a problem solver, someone who can add value, be innovative, and productive while bringing something to the company that hasn’t existed before. The employer loves someone who will take away their pain.

Finally, you’ll have to back-up this expert status. You’re not an expert just because you say you’re an expert. What do experts do? Experts are well known. They have visibility, and are highly credible. How do you build your visibility and credibility? How do you underline or accentuate your expert status? In our career coaching practice, we show clients how to do this through writing, public speaking, social media, networking, and other techniques. Anyone can do these things, if they start-out on a small scale.

One of the strategies we use is to become prominent in your industry associations and organizations. Not just to be a member, but to be visible and known. If people do all this to back-up their expert claim, they will be perceived as an expert not just because they say so, but because they are seen throughout the business community for that reputation. If you do all these things I’m describing, a shift occurs. A mindset is shifted for the better.

If you really position yourself as an expert, employers and recruiters will start chasing you instead of you having to chase the employers and recruiters. When that happens, it’s like a revelation. I’ve seen the shift happen in my clients. They get so excited! They are so amazed that the employers and recruiters are actually pursuing them instead of the other way around. It’s a breakthrough, and a major change for the better!

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach 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 and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, television and radio networks. He has also conducted presentations at many companies, associations and universities. Learn more at www.CareerPotential.com or contact Ford directly at 1-800-972-6588.

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