In the car showroom the salesperson is finished with their sales pitch and their final question to you is “Is there a reason you would not buy this car today?” This is an “objection question” and any good sales person in any sales situation asks a variation of this question (What would I need to do or provide to get you to sign the contract today?). Once the salesman hears the objection(s), their challenge is to overcome the objection(s) and make the sale.
Is there a reason the hiring manager is not offering you the job today? Do you know what the reason is?
In the interview ask the objection question. However, you need to ask an objection question that works in a job interview and gets you the information you seek. Many interview books suggest a direct question such as, “Is there a reason you would not hire me” or even more direct “So do I get the job?” In my experience hiring managers simply duck a direct “objections” question by saying “Well we have other candidates to interview so…”. My suggestion is to ask a less direct/confrontational question that will give you good actionable information.
Here is the question:
“Based on my background and skills what do you think would be the greatest challenges for me in this position?”
A “challenge(s)” is an objection to hiring you. The challenge may be major- you will not get the job, minor- you are in the running, or inconsequential- if no better candidate shows up you are in. If there is a challenge voiced do the following:
1- Make the challenge specific
For example the hiring manager may say “You may not have the experience we need”. What experience do they need what experience are you lacking? Keep asking questions such as “please tell me specifically what you mean?” until you get the details and you understand the challenge.
2- Probe for the concern behind the challenge
“You are correct, although I have worked for a financial services firm I do not have experience in commercial banking what is your concern about my lack of experience in commercial banking?
3- Play back the challenge to the hiring manager
So your concern is that I do not have enough client facing experience is that correct?
Once you know the details of the “challenges” you can formulate a way to overcome the challenge. It may be proposing a strategy you can use once hired to overcome the challenge or it may be emphasizing another area of skill or experience which is equally important and can overcome the hiring manager’s concerns.
This challenges question should be asked in every one of your interviews. It will give you very valuable information as well as provide a question you can ask whenever the interviewer asks you “Do you have any questions for me?”