Have you ever been asked a question that is really asking something else.
The answer is YES!
We all have. In fact, we both ask and answer questions every single day that are really addressing something else.
A boss might ask his employee what is on his to-do list… when really he wants to know if he is organized, things are under control and he is working hard.
A prospective employer might ask about the relationship with your previous boss… when really, he wants to know how you respond to authority, how you get along with team members and if you would be a good fit on his team.
Everyone, everyday asks questions that skirt around the information that we want to know.
And, really, it is a great way to get information.
And knowing this puts you in the driver’s seat of your personal brand. Because you can use your personal brand not just to answer the questions… but to answer the questions behind the questions before they are even asked.
Use your personal brand to answer the questions behind the question.
Now exactly how do you do that? And what might that look like? Good questions.
Really, what you want to know is… how do I figure out how to do this myself. So, here we go…
When people see your personal brand: whether they meet you or go onto your website or look at your resume, they ask questions. They wonder things like are you qualified? what do you do? are you professional? can you help me? will you fit in with my team?
Let’s take a look at some examples:
Question: What do you do?
The questions behind the question: Are you interesting? Are you relevant to me? Can you help me with my goals?
Question: What is your greatest weakness?
Question behind the question: Will you be honest with me? How self-aware are you? Are you interested in growth and improvement?
Question: Does this site look professional?
Question behind the question: Can I trust this person? Do they take themselves seriously? Are they professional / great at what they do?
Questions have a meaning that goes beyond what the person is asking.
Step One: Think of 3 questions that your target audience will ask about your personal brand. Your resume, your website, your business card, your haircut, your history — you name it.
Step Two Think about what information they are trying to get with that information. Are they trying to gauge if you will be able to help them reach a specific goal? Are they trying to determine where you are located? Write down 2-3 questions behind the question.
Step Three Write out scripts for each of the initial questions that answer the questions behind the questions that you brainstormed. That’s it.
When you recognize the questions behind the questions that people are asking you can use it to your advantage. And, with practice, you can do it on the fly — addressing the questions and concerns that are at the root of your audience’s concerns.
Now that will get you hired.
Share with me — what are some “questions behind the question” that your personal brand can answer?
Rebecca Rapple has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Keith Ferrazzi’s My Greenlight and more. You can learn more about the fundamentals of a remarkable job search on her site, The Resume Revolution.