Today I would like to highlight Sheryl Sandberg's advice on how to get hired:
Sheryl had received a phone call from Lori Goler, a highly regarded senior director of marketing at eBay. Lori was calling to ask Sheryl for a job at Facebook. Instead of telling her all of the things she was good at and all of the things she would like to do at Facebook, Lori asked:
"What is your biggest problem, and how can I solve it?"Sheryl's jaw hit the floor. She had hired thousands of people over the previous decade and no one had ever said anything remotely like that. Sheryl admitted her biggest problem was recruiting. She hired Lori to solve it. (Pg. 54)
When I was interviewing for my current position I asked my future boss, "What do you foresee as your biggest project for the coming year." He answered with "We have a big project in the works but I can't discuss it because it is not public knowledge." My company was in the process of buying out a competitor.
I like Lori's question much better:
It gives you an opportunity to ask for a specific job function or task while possibly providing the interviewer with a mental picture of you performing it. This could give you an edge-up in the hiring process.
It also could provide you with insight into what is really going on at this company. If their biggest problem is needing help securing financing - they have cash flow issues. Needing help with recruiting or retention could mean fast growth or low morale. A paper flow or heavy work load problem may mean they are understaffed or mismanaged. You can then ask yourself is this a problem I want to help fix.
This post was inspired by Catherine Gacad who left a comment on my post What does "lean-in" mean for you? stating asking a potential employer, "What is your biggest problem, and how can I solve it? is the best interview advice she has ever heard.
What is the best interview advice you've been given?
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