Have you ever had a job interview and been left wondering what went wrong when there was negative feedback—or possibly no feedback at all? How do you unlock your professional future when you don’t have the key to what went wrong?
Dan Resendes, our chief consulting officer emeritus, explains why this happens very simply. “Most people don’t actually understand the purpose of a job interview,” he says. “Most prospects think they are there to show off their knowledge, their skills, their experience, and, of course, their winning personality. But that’s not the point of a job interview at all.”
Think for a moment about a key—the kind you might use to unlock your front door. The key has a number of indentations and projections on its blade. Each of these lifts a pin to the point where the key pin clears the shear line. This is so that the plug of the lock can turn inside the case and allow you to open your door. If you insert the wrong key, the pins do not clear the shear line so the plug cannot turn and it will not unlock.
According to Dan (who has been guiding executives now for almost 18 years), your objective in a job interview is, like the key. Your true task in an interview is to discover the exact contours of the role and the expectations of the company. Once you know exactly what is needed you can then tailor how you explain your experience and skills. You are able to demonstrate how precisely applicable your skills are to the requirements of the role and the needs of the company. Just like the metaphoric key, you need to clear the shear line perfectly during the interview process so as to allow the key to turn and open (or unlock) the career path.
In fact, you should approach the interview as a solution rather than a job seeker. And the only way to do that is to actively explore the contours of the issues, challenges, or opportunities. These are the real reasons the company is recruiting. This is equally true whether you are interviewing through any of the principal markets the Barrett Group addresses (the recruiter market, the published market, or the unpublished market), the difference being that you probably will have more latitude to design the position yourself in the unpublished market than in the other two cases. The Barrett Group helps clients enter all three of these markets. And then, once interviews begin to occur, trains clients to anticipate questions and practice responses, including the kind of active exploration we discussed above.
Utilize the first part of the interview to collect relevant information about challenges and opportunities the company or hiring manager faces and then use the second half to demonstrate the applicability of your skills and experience to those challenges. Be highly selective. Do not regurgitate your entire history—only what is truly relevant and applicable. And always focus on results: what specific, quantified benefits can you point to as a result of your work?
If that sounds like a tall order, well, without the help of the Barrett Group, it probably is. Our clients are successively prepared for this, first with a resume that is perfectly suited to the target(s) the client has defined—like the key that fits the lock. Next, we help clients discover opportunities that fit that target. Then we teach clients to interview successfully, role-playing with them to prepare them for the real thing. Lastly, we are there when clients need help to negotiate the offer(s), bringing our 31 years of experience and more than 100 compensation elements to bear so that we can essentially always add $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or more to the first offer. Our proven methodology works across industries and hierarchies, from Directors up to the C-Level and beyond.
How can we say that? Easy.
No wonder Forbes magazine cited us as one of the best in the business for the last two years.
Here’s what one recently landed client had to say about our process:
“I knew there would be heavy lifting and a lot of uncertainties in my career transition, and I wanted a trusted partner who could lead me and keep me motivated,” said Maciej. “The kinds of services that The Barrett Group (TBG) provides are so useful if you haven’t changed jobs in a long time. I think of job seeking as a muscle – if you haven’t used that muscle in a while, it isn’t as strong as it could be. But you can hire career management professionals who can coach you to do what you need to do faster, better, and more easily.” [Maciej Kossowski, Chief Commercial Officer, 2022. Read More.]
Executives often tell us about frustrating interview experiences because, as Maciej says, they weren’t prepared properly for the interview, like an athlete who has not trained for an event, so failure is highly likely.
Perhaps it is time you improved your own chances and really decided to unlock your professional future. Let the Barrett Group be your key. Give us a call.
Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group