Interviews are overly scripted. Managers ask questions like, “Tell me about yourself,” and wonder why they get a boring predictable answer in response. In this video, I suggest four questions that could be asked of any job applicant PLUS an additional sequence for sales professionals that will let you quickly eliminate people.
4 Questions to Ask Instead of Tell Me About Yourself | No BS Hiring Advice
Most interviewers ask the same predictable questions to start an interview. You know, “tell me about yourself” or “walk me through your background.” And you get the same predictable answers as a result. After all, every job applicant has 1000s of videos and articles that they can read, or even books of mine and my stuff, where they can learn how to answer these questions well. And the problem is, they are on a script, just like you’re on the script. And thus, you ask the predictable question, they give you a predictable answer.
How do you learn anything about this person who’s sitting opposite you that’s going to help you decide whether they have a fire within them, or whether you’re going to have to light a fire underneath them all the time? That’s the problem with interviewing. You’re scripted; they’re scripted. And thus, it’s a tedious process with very little creativity, originality, too.
I want to give you four questions to start your interviews off with that are going to help you identify people who are a little bit different. And I’ve got a bonus question for salespeople that if you’re hiring salespeople, watch this video, it is terrific, it will help you a lot.
Now, I’ll start by saying the first question I want you to ask is really very simple. “What’s most important to you in the next job or organization? What will you need to see or hear to believe it’s a great choice for you?”
The reason you start off with this is very simple. If you can’t give it to them, why are you going to keep talking to them? You can say, “That’s not what we do around here. What we do is (fill in the blank). And if they go, “Oh, okay,” you know they were taking a shot at the optimal situation, they need a job. That’s useful information for you, isn’t it?
Next question: Why do you do what you do?” Now, once you determine that you have a realistic opportunity for them, you’ll find out why they decided to work in this profession, and how they got to their level of success. So I think it’s useful, just in terms of starting to open them up a little bit differently than what you have previously.
“What did you want to be when you were growing up,” is the third question? And I know it sounds ridiculous. But what you’re trying to do is to get to their humanity and loosen them up even further. You want to hear about their childhood dreams. And you’re actually looking for the embarrassed smile or, or grin on their face. And what they were excited about as a kid.
Like, for example, I wanted to be a pitcher for the Yankees. I have friends who wanted to be ballerinas. And thus, you’re getting a degree of honesty from this person when they talk about what they wanted to be when they were kids. After all, no little boy or no little girl has ever answered that question like this by saying,” you know, I wanted to be a program manager with a large financial institution.” No one’s ever said that.
The fourth question in this opening sequence is, “So how did you get from there (Yankee pitcher or ballerina) to where you are now. And it’s . . . you don’t want to judge them. What you want to do is hear how they progressed, how they learned, and how they evolved. They’re going to start opening their hearts up to you a little bit more.
And you may be in an analytical profession but, trust me, you want to find the human connection with the person sitting opposite you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t they ask questions that relate to what the profession is. But I’m trying to help you screen people out quickly so that it doesn’t really matter to you what they know. They just won’t fit in with you. You won’t care for them and they won’t care for you.
Now, I promised a bonus question or scenario for salespeople. And I’ve always loved this. And I’ve got coaching clients I work with in sales who use this. What a time saver for them. So the question you want to ask them is (and this is for an experienced salesperson), you say “What’s your favorite product that you sell?” And you’ll listen. “Why do you like it?” These two are softball questions. What’s your favorite product and why do you like it? And the third question– “Sell it to me.”
If this is something that they like, they should be able to sell this to you without any hesitation whatsoever. They’ll go right into sales mode, right? But it’s the ones who don’t know how to sell who are gonna fumble around, make excuses and allow you to see how they’d be in front of the customer. These are time savers for you.
I’m Jeff Altman. Hope you found this helpful. My website is TheBigGameHunter.us. You go to the site. Go exploring in the blog. There are 1000s of posts there that’ll help you with job search, hiring more effectively, managing and leading, as well as resolving workplace issues.
In addition, if you want me to coach you, which should be involved with helping you hire more effectively manage and lead, job searching . . . you get the drill already. at the site, you can schedule time for a free discovery call, schedule time for coaching. I’ve got courses that I sell on the site. Go exploring. There’s a lot there to help you.
Connect with me on Linkedin at linkedin.com/in/TheBigGameHunter. Mention that you saw this video because I like knowing I’m helping some folks. Once we’re connected, you can schedule time for a discovery call, schedule time for coaching, whatever! I’d love to help you.
Hope you have a terrific day and most importantly, be great. Take care
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes.
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