Employer Branding Workplace

How To Understand Your Interviewer’s Hidden Agenda

There can be no mistaking that the reason employers are on the hunt for new members of staff is a need. This need is not about you, it’s all about them and their need. Therefore you have to sell yourself and tune in to their WIIFM. The reason a manager hires somebody is to make their life easier and to help reaching targets. You will have to think about how you could make their life easier and how you could contribute towards reaching targets. Take it one step further and even consider how the manager’s manager would regard you being hired and joining the business.

You will have to tailor your competence, experience, education relevant to them and their needs, targets and objectives. After anything you say to the interviewer, you should aim to add something like “…and this will help you because…” or “…and this will make everyone notice you because…” For every question the interviewer asks, you should mentally add “…and how will this benefit me and my needs?” By tailoring your replies and examples to their needs and, you will let them no know how bringing you onboard will be beneficial to them as well as their company.

Establishing the needs:

If we assume that managers hire based on their own needs, you are going to have to uncover and reveal their needs in order to come up with answers that will get you hired. Bear in mind that every time a manager asks you are a question, you have now earned the right to ask a question yourself. Questions serve as a fantastic follow up to a winning answer.

Early on in the interview session you should make use of your questions to find out the agenda of the manager. This way you can then tweak your answers and attitude to demonstrate that you get what their needs are and that you are the perfect solution.

Different agendas for different roles:

Every interviewer will have their own hidden agenda which is dependent on their role. For instance, an HR representative is keen to ascertain that you will be comfortable with the corporate culture, you will be a good social fit, you get along with people and you will not stir up any conflicts or be a trouble maker in general. The line manager wants to ensure that you have the right skills, can actually do the job properly and happy to take orders.
As a rule of thumb, the manager will want to hire somebody that that a.) they take a liking to, b.) will make their life easier, and c.) will put them in a good light.

Questions to ask:

The interviewers are also going to have their own sets of hidden needs. Pose one or more of these questions early in the session to find out the hidden needs, once you have established these you can tailor your answers better:

  • “What would the perfect candidate do in order to make your life easier?”
  • “What is the number one ability an individual should possess to succeed in this role?”
  • “What are the prioritized short and long term targets and goals for this department?”
  • “What are your goals as a manager? What challenges do you come up against?”
  • “How do you measure your own success and the success of the team?”
  • “What does your manager expect of you and your department in terms of achievements? How do you make your manager happy?
  • “What are the main qualities you would look for in the ideal candidate?”
  • “What kind of personality traits would be required to really achieve and make a difference at this role?”
  • “What top priorities would the person that accepts this job have?”
  • “Take me through a typical day for somebody doing this job?”
  • “What are the daily tasks and duties of the job? How can that person reach a promotion?”
  • “What challenges are you being faced with at the moment? How difficult does this make your position? What would it take to overcome this?”

RELATED: 9 Killer Questions Candidates Ought to Ask the Interviewer

Image: Shutterstock

By Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO of Link Humans, home of The Employer Brand Index.