In fifteen years writing this newsletter, the single best tip I’ve given, that has come back to me over, and over, and over again, is this:
When it gets to that part of the interview with your future boss where they ask, “well, do you have any questions for me?”, say yes, and ask…
“How do I help you get a gold star on your review next year?”
This bit of advice has helped more people in more interviews than any other bit of advice I’ve shared in the last decade-and-a-half that I’ve been writing to you.
Well, the interview process lends itself to self-absorption. We spend so much of the time talking about ourselves that we can sound like one of those people who talks only about themselves.
Or, conversely, we become “job analysis engineers” and ask all sorts of questions about the job and reporting structure and how it fits in with the company’s five-year plan and so on.
I love getting questions from candidates in interviews, but I do have to admit that I feel they’re not quite getting the point of a “face-to-face” interview when they pull out six pages of typed, single-spaced questions and promptly bury their nose in their papers without making eye contact.
We get so obsessed with the details of the job that we forget about the work.
Working together and being a good addition to the team mean being concerned with how you are making the team successful. And that means being concerned with how well you are helping your boss succeed.
Asking this question shows that you have empathy. It shows that you have an interest in your boss’ career and future success. It shows that you are not just a self-absorbed “what’s-in-it-for-me” kind of person. And it shows that you know you are there to “give” as much as you are there to “get”.
Hundreds of members like you have told me how the interviewer’s face lights up when asked this question. I have heard time and time and time again from our almost ten million members how effective it’s been in interviews.
(And, remember, you want the vibe to be a cool & relaxed Vince Vaughn, not an obsequious Steve Buscemi.)
The gold star question is an easy tip to implement in your job search: it’s easy to do, easy to understand, and it’s easy to measure.
And that makes it my best bit of career advice in over a decade of doling it out.
So thank you, folks, for paying attention, trying it out, and letting me know how it goes…
I’m rooting for you!
Marc Cenedella is the Founder, Executive Chairman and CEO of Ladders, Inc., the comprehensive career resource dedicated to helping professionals ‘Manage, Market and Move-up’ in their careers. Over the last decade, Ladders has transformed the way job candidates and recruiters connect online. Follow Marc on Twitter at @Cenedella.