The hiring manager will want you to answer these eight key questions before giving you an executive-level job offer in marketing.

This list of questions is modified from a Marketing Executives Networking blog by Lisa Fernow “Not Hearing about Any Good Innovations?” that recommended asking similar questions when looking to understand potential innovations.

1. What’s that mean in English?

This is Lisa’s and my favorite question. Whether trying to get support for an innovation, writing a résumé, or answering an interview question: Be clear. Be specific. Be understood.

Your content must be understood to have a positive impact. And just as important, you must come across as honest, straightforward, and able to communicate to be a viable candidate.

2. What critical problem(s) do you solve?

You usually have to prove that you already have done what they believe the company needs the new hire to accomplish.

3. Who really cares?

You need to clearly communicate to the hiring manager:

  • Why they should care about what you can do for the company and him/herself; and
  • How you can make buyers care more about the company and its products and services.

4. What’s really at stake for them beyond fixing the obvious problem/need?

This is a BOGO: they can hire you to solve the primary problem and get a secondary benefit for free.

5. What is the company doing today that you can improve?

It’s important to study the company and be able to discuss (after the appropriate hedge that you can’t know as much as an insider) some ideas for improvement and change based on your previous successes.

One caution: I once suggested changing a program that was championed by my interviewer. Game over. No job offer.

Regardless, successful candidates usually have to make some suggestions based on limited knowledge.

6. Why are you superior to other candidates and how can you prove this?

You likely will be seen as superior to other candidates if you can get the hiring committee to reach these three positive conclusions about your capabilities and especially attitude.

  • You can do the job.
  • You will like working for the company and boss and can effectively work with peers and the CEO.
  • They will like working with you.
    • Never forget: People hire people, not just recitations of responsibilities, companies, job titles, and bulleted accomplishments.

7. Can you walk me through a concrete example of your relevant accomplishments?

The key is to directly and quickly lead the interviewer through what s/he wants to talk about (relevant to them) using an approach similar to PAR or SAR:

  • Problem/Situation, Action, Result

You also can start with the result as long as you make the journey impressive and understandable.

There are several other approaches that can help you organize your thoughts into very short stories with a beginning, middle and end.

8. What’s the simplest way we can decide?

You need to help the hiring manager and committee decide that they want you. The classic approaches still work:

  • Do homework and preparation going into the interviews.
  • Position yourself relative to the company’s needs/opportunities.
  • Answer these eight questions during the job-hiring process.
  • Prepare important/relevant/impactful people who have worked with you to give tailored recommendations linking the company’s needs to your successes and especially your character.
  • See question six above.
  • Follow up.

Lisa’s earlier blog primarily emphasized the importance of asking questions to improve communications. I’ve slightly rewritten her questions and illustrated how they need to be answered to get a job offer.