Best job interview question to ask the hiring manager
You found a job you were perfectly qualified for, put together a beautiful cover letter, and submitted your resume. A few days later, the miracle of miracles takes place. You receive an email from the recruiter wanting to set up an initial phone screen. Go out and buy a lotto ticket Pookie, because today is your lucky day!
Even though you felt you were perfectly qualified for the job it was still like finding a rest stop on a long trip after a 72 ounce Big Gulp when the recruiter emailed you. You are both happy and “relieved” when you read the email. It wasn’t the “Dear John We received many resumes for this position and will call you if you are qualified” email. It was the “Hey you’re cute, call me”, email with digits attached. Our face goes flush, we get excited and can’t believe our luck. “She called me! She is interested in me! I gotta buy a new shirt and shine my shoes!”
Then, in anticipation of the first date, self-doubt comes a-knockin’. Worries about what to wear to the interview and “Will they like me?” crept into your mind. One minute we think we are going to be working at Acme Publishing and the next minute we don’t think we have a chance. The Lord giveth a good feeling and the Lord taketh away.
You naturally assume that 150 resumes were submitted for the same position and you are probably right. We know that the completion will be stiff. If we were interested in the positions, why wouldn’t other candidates be interested as well?
WHY DID THEY CALL ME?
And this is where the interview goes to crap. If there is self-doubt before the phone screen has even started, then baby – you are going down.
I am here to tell you that you shouldn’t have any self-doubt and how you can eliminate your insecurities.
It’s a 3-part process:
Step 1: Remove all doubt
Remember, the recruiter reached out to you! You don’t care how many others applied; it only takes a single person to fill the position and the recruiter called you. If the recruiter is calling you, then you are probably qualified. You are not under qualified, you are not overqualified, just like Goldilocks, you are “just right”.
Close your eyes and repeat after me: “The recruiter called me, the recruiter called me, the recruiter called me”.
Trust me, the recruiter didn’t pick your name out of a hat like a raffle and they didn’t throw darts at a dartboard. The recruiter isn’t going to waste their time on someone who isn’t qualified, almost qualified or even 150% overqualified.
Companies receive enough resumes that they can be very choosy. Setting up interviews with folks that are under qualified by 10% to overqualified by 30% increases the candidate pool exponentially. Remember, this recruiter isn’t just working on your position; they are working on 10 others at a minimum, in some case 30 different positions. They are ONLY setting up phone screens with candidates that are perfectly matching to what they are looking for. (This is why we tailor our resume to each job description!)
Step 2: Establish professional rapport
Most recruiters will send an email to set up the initial phone call. Send back an email that conveys excitement and professionalism. The day before the phone screen, send a professional email that confirms the appointment the next day. If someone confirms an appointment the day before, the chance of the meeting being canceled or rescheduled goes down significantly. They committed not once, but twice.
I just wanted to check in and confirm we were still on for tomorrow at 3:00. I am really looking forward to learning more about the opportunity. I am happy to call you or I can be reached at xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Step 3: Take notes on the $1M dollar job interview question
Before the interview starts, have the job description in front of you.
When the recruiter calls, answer with enthusiasm and explain you are excited about the interview.
You will be able to tell within the first 5 seconds of the call if the recruiter is going to “INTERVIEW” you, or this is going to be a “conversation”. Either way, the best job interview question we need to ask in the first few minutes of the interview is the following:
“Bob, Acme Publishing is a great place to work and this sounds like a great opportunity. I am sure you received a lot of resumes and interest for this position. Can I ask you what it was on my resume that stuck out to you enough to call”?
We are not asking job interview question in an insecure sounding voice like we can’t believe we were called. We are asking this as a probing question so we can close the sale.
Then take notes and write down exactly what they say and have it in front of you as you go through the interview
Job descriptions can be 700 to 1000 words but more-often-than-not, they are generic and rarely give the applicant very much to go on. The bottom half of most job descriptions can be interchanged between the same job title between different companies! It can be very hard to figure out what a company is looking for from most job descriptions because no company wants to list what they are REALLY looking for. If a company listed what it was really looking for, they would be sued. With the above-listed question, you will hear EXACTLY what it was on YOUR resume that got the hiring manager interested. With this information, you know what to focus on, what questions to ask and how to tailor your answers with specific examples of your prior behavior
Your resume and LinkedIn profiles may be multiple pages long, but for each candidate, there are only 1 or two things that really resonated with the recruiter and hiring manager that made them think, “This is the one”. We need to figure out what that is and reinforce these qualities, and this is why we need to ask the most specific job interview question we can.
This question does one other thing that is critical to your interview success. This question makes for a great set up so that later on in the conversation, you can ask, “Earlier, I asked you what you liked about my resume. What experiences or examples are you looking for that are not listed on my resume?” This is not a yes or no question. We are not asking “Am I missing any skill sets”? We are asking for specific examples.
Candidates ask me if they have any weaknesses on a regular basis and when I reply, they rarely close me. The “What was it on my resume that caught your attention”? the question puts the hiring manager in a situation where they are closing themselves.
Want to get to the heart of the matter? Find out what the recruiter is really looking for and why they think you are the right person for the job by asking the smart job interview question.
See you at the after party,
nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.
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