Why not interview for what you want instead of what they want?

Video Transcript: Interview for real-world answers

Hi, I’m John Borrowman. And I’ve been a recruiter in the field of business valuation and litigation support for over two decades. And I think that gives me a perspective that you won’t find anywhere else.

So, today, I want to talk to you about a question that I often hear candidates ask, going into an interview: “What do they want someone to do?” Now, that question can be a trap for two reasons. First of all, it has to do with the slipperiness of the employer’s answer to that question. Second, asking that question can open you up to misinterpreting or mis-inferring what you’re hearing and making a bad decision.

Let’s be fair to employers, at a granular level, yes, they really do know what they want someone to do on a day-to-day basis. But every employer always wants so much more than that. They want a “team builder.” They want a “go-getter.” They use terms that are very hard to interpret, and you don’t really have a grasp of what they want on a day-to-day basis.

What’s better for you is to decide what you want in this job. Is it that you want to learn how to do different engagements? Maybe you want to gain better supervisory responsibilities. Perhaps you want more client contact. Maybe you want mentoring when it comes to business development.

It’s smarter to ask whether those things will be available to you. Why? Well, if you find out that they’re not available to you, isn’t it better that you know that before you go in, rather than accept an offer based on some kind of blue-sky comments and then learn, after the fact, that “No, that’s not the way it is at all”?

So, look, rather than thinking, “What do they want someone to do?”, start by thinking what it is that I want to do. I can assure you. Employers are much more interested in candidates who are focused in that way on their development and their futures.

Everyone has questions every now and then. Am I in the right place? Am I being paid fairly? When you have questions, I can help you find answers. Give me a call.