Thursday, June 14, 2012

What's not Working...

A co-worker comes up to me the other day and says, "what do you want for lunch?"  I think for a minute and then say, "I don't know... what do you want?"
"I don't want Mexican," he says.

 After much debate, we decide that Subway is the closest and although it's the tenth time we've had it that month, we go for it.  But the situation illustrates a very specific concept... people don't find it easy to say what they want.  Or perhaps, most people.... don't know what they want.

What's Not Working.
One of the most powerful tools in your interviewing tool belt is to elicit interaction from the other side.  An interview is like a date, there shouldn't be only one person talking.  As an interviewee  for a position, you could ask the hiring manager, "what are you looking for this position to do?"  And you'll get a general answer.  Probably something along the lines of, "we're looking for someone to work with the team, help us with our projects, blah blah." 

General questions beget general answers. 

Next time you're in an interview and you've gone through the question and answer period.  Get a sense of the job.  Ask a specific question.  Ask the hiring manager this.  "Talk to me about what's not working in your team right now, and how will your environment look after this position has been filled and working there for six months.  What is changed?"

This will get a better response.  You'll get something like, "well, we don't have enough help on the Database side of things.  So, ideally this person could come in and help us...."

You see?  Now that's an opportunity for you to talk about your relate able experience. 

Next time you're in an interview and you're not digging deep enough into situation, ask the hiring manager what's not working.  Next time you're talking with a stakeholder about a wire frame or a new mock up for a landing page... ask him what's not working about it.

People find it easier to talk about the negative things than the good things.

So give it a try, what's not working for you about that approach?

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