Many job candidates focus on the objective details when they pursue a job. They prioritize when applications are due, what skills the employer is seeking, where the job is located and how much it offers in compensation.
While these details matter, job seekers who place them at the center of their concerns miss a vital opportunity to set themselves apart from the rest of the candidates applying to a particular employer. Rather than focusing on when, what, where or how much, ask one question: “Why?”
Why Ask Why?
Candidates who ask why an employer or recruiter is seeking a new staff person enter the situation from the employer’s or recruiter’s perspective. By taking on the perspective of the person seeking your talents:
- You discover what problem the employer is attempting to address,
- You see how the open position fits into the employer’s work as a whole,
- You become better able to answer the central question every employer has: “How does hiring this person help us?”
How to Use What You Learn
Asking “why” takes time. In addition to reading the job application carefully, spend some time learning about the employer. One of the benefits of working with a recruiter is your recruiter can often answer the question “Why is this employer hiring for this position right now?” Because recruiters work closely with the companies they assist, they often have an insider’s perspective that can help you craft more compelling applications.
Once you have a clearer idea why the employer is hiring, you can begin to think of the job opening as the employer’s idea of how to solve the problem. From this perspective, tailor your resume, cover letter and other application materials to present your skills, knowledge and experience as the ideal solution.
Choose two or three examples of accomplishments that demonstrate your ability to solve problems like the one the employer is facing, and focus on these in your application materials and interview. Doing so demonstrates that you can fix the employer’s problem – because you already have in other situations.
- The most important question to ask when seeking a job is “Why?”
- Focus your application materials on answering the employer’s key question: “How does hiring this person help us?”
- Work with a recruiter for additional insights on why a particular employer is seeking new talent.