Yesterday, I was talking to a potential coaching client on Skype and she talked about her situation and the issues she is facing. Towards the end of the conversation she asked me if she can ask me a few personal questions. I agreed.
Read this blog post to understand the importance of communicating your “Why” and you can leverage it when expressing yourself, for example in a job interview.
Why I Do What I Do (A Question You Need to Ask Yourself Regularly)
Her first question was “Why did you start your business and why do you think you make a difference in the world?”. My answer was along those lines:
“I started jordico.com because I saw so many inefficiencies in the employment industry after working in recruitment in Switzerland for 8 years and I realized I could never have the impact I would like to have while being employed. So I started my own business.
My vision is to lead the employment industry – starting in Switzerland – into a future where people connected, work and hire based on shared values and a passion for what they do. This is the only way people can successfully work together in the long run while being truly happy and fulfilled.”
That was the answer to the first part. Now to the second:
“I know that I make a difference in the world because people tell me on a weekly basis that I do so in their lives. People send me thank you notes and emails explaining that it was due to my help that they found a job in Switzerland that they really love. I am very grateful for having a job where I get to make change happen.
Seeing that I make a difference is what keeps me going in tough times and for me, it’s the biggest paycheck I can earn. Money is important but if it were just for that, I would not be able to get up every morning with a big smile on my face.”
So that was the short version of my answer to her.
Why Do People Hire Me? (Or You)
There are plenty of coaches and outplacement companies out there. Why would somebody hire me?
Is it because I have expertise in the job market in Switzerland? Is it because of my 8 years experience in recruitment and HR in Switzerland? Is it because the color of my shirt usually matches with the color of my pants?
Honestly, I don’t think so. These factors are a given, especially the shirt-pants relationship. But there are plenty of coaches out there with much more experience in HR and recruitment. So that’s not what makes me unique.
What makes me unique are my values, my beliefs and what I stand for. There is no other person on earth with exactly my personality.
My clients choose me because we share similar values and because I express myself in a way that shows my personality to them. The factors mentioned before – experience, skills, etc. – are a given. They have to be there but it does not matter if I have 5 years or 100 years of experience.
Why Should People Hire You?
Ever heard that question? It’s actually a very common one in job interviews. Take some time to think about it and if you come up with a good, deep and meaningful answer, your competition will be nonexistent.
My Ideal Coaching Clients (And Your Ideal Employer)
I few months ago, I was talking to a potential coaching client, a senior executive at a large corporation, on Skype. He sent me an email upfront with his Skype ID and an Excel sheet.
When I looked at his Skype ID, I was already a bit confused and was not sure if it was correct. It actually started with “King_”. I assumed that was his last name. It was not.
I opened the Excel sheet and what popped up was a description of his currently salary and business car as well as his expected salary and business car in his next career step. He would also only consider Fortune 100 companies. He mentioned he is currently driving a big BMW and is expecting a much bigger BMW in his next job. I logged in to Skype to meet the King.
From my first day of business I developed a so called “Red Velvet Rope Policy”, which basically means that I try to only attract clients with characteristics I choose.
After talking to the King, I was so happy I did develop that policy. Even the 30-minute call was killing me. I felt like I was at completely the wrong place. While I was talking, I somehow thought I was on mute and he was in another conference call because he regularly cut me off and told me to wait for 2 minutes.
We decided to not work together because there was not the slightest sign that our values align.
Have you ever experienced something similar in a job interview? If so, you may want to set up your own “Red Velvet Rope Policy” to notice signs of mismatch to avoid being hired into an organization that sucks the life out of you.
How to Master “Why” Questions in Job Interviews
If you have been in a 2nd interview round recently, you may have noticed that there are a lot of “Why” questions coming up. You need to be prepared for such questions. They usually come up at a later stage of the interview process and not the initial interview.
Here are some example questions:
Why are you interested in the opportunity/company?
Why are you the most qualified for the position?
Why did you choose to interview with my/our organization?
Why should we hire you?
Why have you not obtained a job so far?
A lot of people answer these questions in the wrong way.
Lets take the example of question number 2, “Why are you most qualified for the position?”. Most people would answer this question by talking about their experience and skills only. That’s ok if you are the single most experienced person in the world in what they are looking for.
However, I doubt that. There is always somebody with more, better, higher, faster or conformer.
So what makes you unique? Talk more about your personality, passion and your “How” alongside with skills and experience.
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Note: You have to read the blog post at jordico.com to download the 18-page Interview Preparation Kit.
What Are Your Weaknesses?
What a boring question. Many modern organizations completely went away from this type of question because it does not really say anything about a person. If you can list 3 fancy-sounding, positive weaknesses, you’re good.
I used to ask this question in every interview when I was hiring at the beginning of my career because I didn’t know better. Most people know better now and they will ask questions that either start with “Why” to see if you get it and how you react.
How Should I Act in a Job Interview?
The simple answer: Be yourself, authentic and honest. Easier said than done.
You may want to work on yourself before an interview and find what your true uniqueness and what your real “Why” is.
You can actually measure if you are yourself, authentic and honest. Practice your “Why-How-What Statement” with a friend and ask your friend if you were talking passionately or rather emotionless. Improve your statement until your friend jumps off his seat with a standing ovation.
Now you want to align everything you say about yourself in the job interview around your “Why-How-What Statement” that got your friend to be excited. If you do, you will make an emotional connection with the hiring authority and maybe even with HR and they will have no choice but to hire you if their values align with yours.
If you have been fully self expressed and professional but the organization does not hire you, that’s a good thing. You would not have stayed there for long anyway.
A few weeks ago, one of my coaching clients sent me her success story where she wrote a bold and self-expressed cover letter to a hiring manager. The results speak for themselves.
Now It’s Your Turn
Do these three things to move you one step closer to doing work you really enjoy:
2. Develop your “Red Velvet Rope Policy”
3. Work through the Communication Excellence Workbook and develop your “Why-How-What Statement”