‘Question I ask in every job interview’
You might think you get to a certain point in your professional life when job interviews somehow cease to matter, but that's rubbish. Because what is a job interview if not an opportunity to sell yourself? And I can tell you there's never a moment when you can afford to stop doing that.
And it just so happens that I know a thing or two about tough interviews, both giving them and being on the receiving end of the hard questions.
One of the earliest investors in my Wizard Home Loans business was the late, great Kerry Packer, and there was no way he was going to put his money somewhere without asking every possible probing question first.
That was like a job interview for me - and a bloody hard one - with Kerry putting me under his fierce spotlight for hours. Yes, people who never knew him have this impression that he was a tough, cranky b**tard. But let me tell you, the truth was much worse.
I took one important question away from those meetings, and it's a question I still ask everyone who wants to work with me today.
You won't be surprised to hear that Kerry had no time for what he could do for me, that part was obvious. All he ever wanted to know was what I could do for him, what exactly I'd be bringing to the party.
And so it's become my go-to interview question - "What can you do for me?" - but also the one that most people struggle to answer.
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For some reason people don't like to sell themselves, it makes them feel uncomfortable or arrogant. But if you don't know why I should hire you, why the hell would I put you on the books?
It all comes down to a willingness to sell, whether it's yourself, a product or your company. If you can't do that, you're wasting my time and yours, so be ready to tell me what separates you from the dozens of other people who'll be interviewing for the same job.
Everything else is a waste of time. I know you went to school, I know you went on to study something at university, and I know you've got some kind of relevant experience. And guess what? So does everyone else who'll be sitting in that chair after you.
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But if you can tell me, clearly and confidently, exactly what you'll be bringing to my company - what impact you'll have on the profit line, what clients you can bring aboard, what you can do that nobody else can - then you'll have my full attention.
And if you do it right, you'll leave me no choice. I'll have to hire you.
What's the toughest job interview question you've ever been asked? Share with us in the comments below.