Whenever I am interviewing candidates for a position, I have never been afraid to put them on the spot or test them. I don’t believe in embarrassing them but being thorough with my questions will inevitably add a little bit of pressure to the situation.
When I used to hire someone to work in sales, I would sometimes ask them to sell me something right there and then, for example their mobile phone. Whatever feature they tried to pitch, I would say I didn’t need it. Whatever angle they took, I would counter. The main reason was to test their resilience and tenacity, which is obviously essential in a sales role.
Sometimes, it is the simplest questions which candidates can struggle with. If I was to interview ten people and ask them the question: Why would I hire you? – I can guarantee that eight of the people won’t give the answer I am looking for. They will give a detailed list of their strengths, but it won’t answer the question I am posing.
What employers want to know is how you can add value to a role. Every single person in an organization should be able to quantify exactly how they add value. If this is a Project Manager, it would be how much revenue they bring in.
Everybody’s contribution should be measurable and what you have to do in an interview is tell the interviewer what you will contribute.
This is how you use your list of key skills and strengths – simply telling me what they are isn’t good enough, as you’re not matching them up to the needs of the job.
Bear in mind that the cost of an employee is not just their salary. There are running costs such as desks, chairs, VoIP and transportation. Therefore you need to be able to justify that cost.
Going back to the example of the Project Manager, if they can demonstrate to me that the income they will generate is three times more than what they are costing, that will definitely increase their chances of landing that job.
Of course there are many other factors that HR Managers take into account –for example is the candidate suited to the culture of the company? Do they have the ambition to want to constantly develop themselves?
But they will only start delving into this once they have established that you can make a difference to your role – and that’s what you have to show them in the interview.