Job Hunters Must Master “The Language of Solutions”

When one conducts interviews on a regular basis, and spends hour after hour listening to candidates wax at length about various sundry aspects of their employment history, few moments are as refreshing and powerful as when a job candidate listens carefully to your needs, looks you in the eye, and says “I understand your problem and am confident I can solve it for you.”

Unfortunately, while the intent may be there in many cases, few candidates ever reach this level of “straight talk” in their presentation — or take the opportunity to speak with firm, frank conviction about their ability to meet the employer’s needs.   Isn’t such an assurance, however, exactly what the hiring manager wants to hear?  Isn’t the whole point behind the interview process to find the individual who best seems to “get” the work that needs to be done and who appears not only enthusiastic, but highly qualified, to perform the required task(s) at hand?

For these reasons, Career Horizons recommends that job hunters work hard on their ability to talk in the “language of solutions” and to consciously shift conversations away from an undue emphasis on past successes (which were meaningful to previous employers) and into the realm of future solutions (which will be far more meaningful to potential future employers).  It’s a subtle thing, to be sure, but the effects are dramatic when you see them play out in a live hiring situation.  Candidates who understand this dynamic and project a solution-oriented attitude always come across as more confident, more focused, and more ready to roll up their sleeves and get the job done.  Most importantly, they are directly selling to the employer’s needs instead of hoping that their resume and past accomplishments will somehow jump off the page and sell themselves.  So as you go out to the market, try to infuse all of your communications (ranging from your initial elevator pitch to your “tell me about yourself” interview response) with words that communicate your skill as an expert problem-solver in your particular field.

Want a role model of this behavior in action?  Those who might remember the movie “The Music Man” need think no further than professor Harold Hill, who convinced the entire town of River City that he could solve their burgeoning juvenile delinquency problem by putting together — warning, this is a spoiler! — a youth marching band.  Now granted, this solution was rather asinine and didn’t quite work out as planned in the end, but there’s no question that the town bought the concept hook, line, and sinker.  Like most of us, all they needed was for somebody to utter the magic words and assure them that a solution to their Troubles was close at hand.  All they had to do was say “yes, you’re hired!”


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