This question is designed to just crush you at some point during an interview. It’s more of a statement than anything and it’s in the course of the interview, you’ve been knocking it out of the park, been thinking you’ve been doing really well and suddenly they say, “You know I’m wondering if you have enough experience with (fill in the blank) to do this role.”
And it can be so demoralizing to hear them say that because you think you’ve been interviewing well, swatting back all their questions with great answers, and suddenly they say that.
Now here’s how to approach it.
Going into the interview, hopefully, what you did is spend a little time in preparation. You can saw a job description. You heard what they’re looking for in the course of your first interview with them. You have an idea of what you’re walking into. You know what your strengths are vis-à-vis the role.
You know what your potential weaknesses are and maybe you knew enough to ask what I call the single best question you should ask on any interview at the beginning of the process, the one where you find out what it is that they’re looking for before they start asking you questions. Thus, you can start tailoring your answers to what matters to them.
So, knowing what you do about this role, the best way to respond to this question is by saying, “you know, I understand how you feel. You went into this job search looking for someone with this sort of background, identified this as an area that you thought was important. But I want you to follow me for a second. This is what I’ve done that relates to this role.” In answering, you drill back with all your strengths that relate to the conversation. By doing that, you’re having an opportunity to sell back into your capabilities.
Maybe it’s a certification or degree that you don’t have but you have more experience than what they specified. Maybe it’s you haven’t worked in their industry but you’ve worked in a related one. You’ve worked for someone within their organization who can vouch for you.
Whatever it is, sell back into your strengths and don’t just accept that, what I consider a temporary verdict. You try and jolt them a little bit as they jolted you. Don’t just simply sit there passively and go, “Okay I’ understand how you feel.”
Go back and talk with them about what you’ve done that relates to what they’re looking for so that, this way, they get your strongest position right then and there, rather than let that judgment there and crush your candidacy.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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when I join your firm.”
Isn’t that a great answer? That’s because what you’re doing is acknowledging the effort that went into the job how you got recognized afterward, you delivered, and that you learned something from the experience.
Emotional intelligence is one of those things that firms like to see. They like to see that people aren’t going to cop an attitude, quit their jobs, tell them to go get someone else, stuff along those lines. They’re looking for maturity from you and working your way through a situation like this. They understand that it may be a struggle and that your perseverance and success is a great example of maturity.