In Interviews, Focus on the Company's Issues

Susan Hall
Slide Show

How Not to Follow Up After a Job Interview

A rogues' gallery of infamously inappropriate follow-ups.

I've written many times that in preparing for an interview, you need to do your homework. That includes finding out the issues the company is dealing with and how hiring you is supposed to solve things. If you can't find these issues online, you need to make contacts within the company to find out. After all, the company isn't making a hire simply because you're so great; it's all about the employer's needs.


My colleague Loraine Lawson recently wrote that in implementing business intelligence, it's important to focus on a specific point of pain within the company and go from there. That's a good interview strategy as well.

A guest post by Assad Faquir on the site of recruiter David Graziano offers some help in that regard. Faquir was frustrated after a string of dead-end interviews. He thought he did a good job of selling his skills, but wasn't getting anywhere. Graziano offered two questions to help him switch from selling himself to specifically addressing the company's needs.


Here are the questions:


  1. What are the problems/issues you have run into in trying to get the job accomplished?
  2. What solutions have you attempted to overcome these issues?


After launching the first question, you can empathize and offer how you've dealt with similar things in the past. After some discussion, you can launch the second question, empathize some more, and talk about some solutions you can provide beyond those already tried.


As Faquir put it:

... needless to say David's trick worked to perfection and within two days, I had a four-month contract offer in hand. The advice David gave me broke my habit of focusing on ME in the interview and allowed me to focus on the real needs of the company. Which when you think about it is the key to any interview or sales presentation ... focusing on the problem and becoming the solution, not assuming you ARE the solution to an unknown problem.

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