Marie, a customer service manager, lost her job due to corporate restructuring in October. Over the course of November and December, she secured final interviews with hiring managers at three companies. Unfortunately, Marie was not hired for any of these roles.
When I asked Marie in January about these interviews, she stated that while she was a great fit for each position, she didn’t sense that the interview had gone as well as she hoped. At times during the interview, she found herself on the defensive as the interviewer asked one question after another.
The entire process seemed cold, impersonal and one-sided. She didn’t have an opportunity to really identify the challenges facing the customer service department nor did she have the chance to explain how she could address their issues given her skills and experience.
In her words, “Each interview felt more like a one-way than a two-way conversation.”
Like so many candidates, Marie had lost control of the interview.
So how does Marie gain control? By finishing her answer with an engaging question! It’s that simple!
It’s a technique you use every day when you greet someone!
Bob: Hey, Bill how are you today?
Bill: I’m good. Where did you go skiing on Spring Break and how would you describe the ski conditions?
Bob: [Since Bill ended his answer with an “engaging” question, Bob now must respond by telling Bill about the trip.]
In February, Marie secured another interview and by then we had worked on using this technique.
Here’s how she handled one of the interview questions.
Hiring Manager: What was one of your greatest challenges managing a Customer Service Team?
Marie: One of my biggest challenges was retaining customer service agents. After interviewing our workforce, we determined that we needed to increase compensation and benefits. Working with HR, Finance and Senior Management, we increased compensation for those who stay one year. We reduced attrition by 24%. What do find to be the biggest challenges facing your department?
Hiring Manager: [Now the hiring manager must respond to this question. Once Marie knows the biggest challenges, then she can address how she would be able to address their issues.]
Incorporating engaging questions into her responses turned Marie’s interview from a one-way to a two-way conversation. With this technique, Marie uncovered the key business challenges and could then explain how she could address these issues. She was no longer on the defensive!
So, no need to lose control of the interview. Use this technique to turn interviews into conversations and conversations into job offers!!
Need help developing this technique or improving your overall interviewing skills? Just ask your CRC Advisor!
- Brent White, CRC Board Member and Advisor