Identifying organizational needs requires the ability to listen to the other person’s business problems, and be able to restate them accurately. It requires listening skills, the ability to ask penetrating questions, and to synthesize the information given. Finally, the ability to show empathy and a legitimate sense of concern are needed. The hardest part of listening for many people is to resist the urge to start thinking about what to say next. You may have an impatient side that wants to jump in and speak before the other person has even finished a sentence or question. You feel that all you need is a thread of an idea. “Hold it, hold it,” that impatient side says, “I can finish that thought. I can add value to the conversation.” Active listening requires concentration and discipline. It’s hard work, but it’s an invaluable interview tool.
After listening, questioning skills and formulating the needs become important. A great way for the interviewer to discover how you think is to tell you about one of the company needs and see how you might deal with it. It normally takes a good deal more concentrated questioning than one thinks to understand someone else’s needs. After all, you’re coming to the discussion cold or with only partial information, while the interviewer has been living with the needs every day and understands the problem inside and out. Problem solving skills can be particularly helpful at this time. Intelligent candidates realize that the interviewer is their greatest resource. It demonstrates strength and intelligence to ask for help. For example, “Am I correct that your real need is in hiring someone who can excite and motivate a sales staff that has had three leaders in three years?” Once the need is developed, you are able to confirm the needs.
Once you have confirmed the need(s) you are in a position to make your sell indicating why you would be successful if hired. This is the time to take your best shot at telling the interviewer why you have the skills to successfully perform, you are motivated to work at the company and you have the passion for the company’s work. Your competencies and accomplishments can be particularly valuable and you need to select those that are most appropriate for the work you will be performing if hired.