Many job seekers think job interviews are all about answering the interviewer’s questions effectively. While that is very important, it is equally important to turn your interview into a peer-to-peer conversation. Asking the interviewer meaningful, open-ended questions is a powerful way to help them start seeing you in the role.
One way to start the conversation is to ask them directly about their business concerns. I’ve found that asking: “What business issues keeps you awake at night?” is the easiest way to make the shift from interview to conversation. Just remember to actively listen. Resist the urge to jump into the conversation before they’re finished responding. Once they’re done, share specifics on what you’ve done to help solve similar challenges in the past.
To successfully turn your interview into a convincing conversation:
- identify the key issues and challenges affecting the industry and the company. This requires thorough and thoughtful research before your interview.
- create a list of open-ended questions in advance; and
- prepare concrete examples [in the form of interview stories] to prove that you’ve used your expertise to solve similar problems in the past.
The more you use this approach, the more comfortable and confident you’ll get in turning your interview into a convincing conversations. And, you’ll reap the rewards. They’ll see you as a peer not just another job seeker.