Feel Confident & Present In Interviews With This “Secret Sauce” Idea

Do you have a difficult time focusing during the interview process? Here's a secret sauce tip to help!

Over the last couple of years, I have touched on what I deem as “secret sauce.” In today’s blog, I am going to delve into it in great detail. By utilizing this one idea while interviewing for any position, you will be a much better candidate. When using the words “much better,” here’s what I mean: You will be more attentive to the questions and ask more in-depth questions to find out if the opportunity is the right one for you at the right time in the interview process. With interviews being spread out, this will continue to keep you in the right mindset.

Focus & Listen First

From my many years of experience with both candidates and hiring managers, I have gleaned the following information. One: Candidates do not know how to focus during the interview process. That is not to say that they think they are focusing; however, their mind is taking them in so many directions that it becomes impossible to focus and hear what is being said specifically to address the questions that the hiring manager is posing. This is also the same on the hiring manager’s side. They are thinking of their next question, which they should be doing only after the previous question is asked and answered. They too need to be only thinking of this one question, which is, “Do you want to learn more?”  That’s it. The only question that should be lurking in the minds of both candidates and clients in these initial interviews.

Quiet All Those Questions In Your Mind During The Interview Process

Let me share with you why this is so simple yet so important. Candidates are always wondering so many things when they start to interview. Their mind goes immediately to the end question, “Is this a firm I want to move to?” While the hiring managers go to the question, “Is this a candidate I want to hire?” Yes, I am oversimplifying this, but for purpose of this blog, I want to make this extremely clear. A candidate that has entered the interview process obviously has a reason to interview. There is a void in their current situation, and they want to know if your firm will fill that void. They are asking themselves the following question, “Will my clients follow me?” That is the most important question they are thinking about. More questions start to swirl in their head such as, “Will I make enough money to make this move worthwhile?” And so on. By entertaining these questions in their mind, they cannot concentrate on the questions they want to have asked and answered by the hiring firm. They are not able to do effective due diligence on that first call. It’s the first call that is going to set the tenure of future calls if any, and an eventual offer.

The “Secret Sauce” Question For Your Interview Process: Do You Want To Learn More?

You are able to hyper-focus on the interviewers’ questions and answers when asking yourself that one question (and only that one question), “Do you want to learn more?” This allows for there not to be a barrage of questions running through your mind as you are interviewing. Since most of the interviews are opportunistically based, you will be more focused on the questions that are important for you to have answered. You can make a clearer decision if you want to learn more. Learning more is only stating to yourself that there is an interest there for you to delve further and have a second more in-depth interview. But we must remember that the hiring manager is also asking the same question in the interview process. Does he want to learn more about you? If both candidate and hiring manager want to learn more and that is conveyed to the recruiter, a second interview is set. If not, the recruiter will now have a better reason the candidate or the hiring manager does not want to learn more, and that can be shared when appropriate with the parties.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting.”

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.