Who’d Get The Job: Candidate A or Candidate B?

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Whod Get The Job Candidate A or Candidate BLast week, I received this reply (to one of these emails) from "S":

Whilst focusing on what will solve the hiring manager's problems is true, I don't think I can pretend to know something I don't if they specifically ask.

 

Here's what I mean. I noticed that tech companies are so focused on in-depth technical knowledge of a marketing automation tool like Marketo or Eloqua and lead gen (did I mention I'm a marketer?) that they overlook the bigger picture of how marketing in totality isn't only about leads and how a 360 view can be more valuable (in my opinion!).

 

I know how those tools work and what they enable me to do even if I haven't used them specifically at my previous roles for various reasons. But I have run campaigns using methods that work equally well - even survey monkey! When I admit I haven't used the tools per se but I can achieve the same results, they see that one thing as a reason not to proceed. So, am I doing the wrong thing in being honest?

There are a few things here:
 
First, it's great that S knows and understands what skills hiring managers in his field are looking for in candidates. Many candidates don't have this level of insight, and it puts them at a disadvantage to folks like S and you.
 
These automation tools are obviously important for the role, and so is lead generation. If you're a good candidate, you'll bring these skills to the table; if you're a great candidate, you'll still bring these skills to the table, but you'll also bring a perspective and awareness that the hiring manager does not have, based on your experience as a professional.
 
Here's what I mean by that:
 
Take any career field. Now, it's often the case -- especially if you're an experienced professional, like many of our members are -- that interviewers are fixated on particular tools and skills (maybe even faddish ones), when you know there's something better suited for what they need.
 
Now, there are two ways to handle this situation:
 
The first option is that you can explain why you don't have these particular skills, and try to convince the hiring manager that he or she is wrong.
 
Good luck!
 
As S observed above, that won't go down well. (They'll use your lack of skills or knowledge in this specific area as a reason to trash your application.)
 
The second option is what I call the "yes, and" approach.
 
Why not take the time to learn these skills or tools? If you do, you'll tick their box and you'll put yourself in a position where you can have a more informed and intelligent conversation about their merits.
 
(Now, to be clear -- in case you're also in S's position right now -- you don't have to be an expert; you just need to be familiar.)
 
Look at it this way:
 
You're the hiring manager, and you have to choose between two candidates:
 
Candidate A -- She doesn't have the skills you're looking for. She prefers to do things her own way. She thinks your thinking is misguided.
 
Candidate B -- He has the skills you're looking for.
 
Who would you rather hire?
 
On the other hand, let's say you take the "yes, and" approach:
 
Candidate A (you) -- She has the skills you're looking for, and she's found through her experience that there's a better way to get results.
 
Candidate B -- He has the skills you're looking for.
 
Who'd you rather bring onto your team now?
 
This is the "yes, and" approach. Give them what they're asking for (i.e. show that you have these specific skills) -- and then show them that you've learned through experience that there's a better way to get results.
 
Experienced candidates have an advantage over less experienced (and more "trendy" candidates) in this area. Why? Because, often, they're aware of solutions and methods that the hiring manager doesn't even know exist.
 
Anyway, this here is my advice for S.

It's my advice for you too.

Read 277 times Last modified on Monday, 04 June 2018 00:31
Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 40,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.