Answer the Question, "WIIFT?"

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If you’ve been in the business world for awhile, or read any management books lately, you’ve probably heard or seen the acronym, WIIFM, or “What’s In It For Me?” When listening to a sales pitch or introducing some change in the workplace, consultants and other business gurus remind management that you need to discuss a product or change initiative from the other person’s point of view. Who cares that the company is going to save a million dollars by changing copier companies. Why should a company make a major investment in a new computer system that will take over six months to install, troubleshoot and then fix? Hooray for the owner and Board of Directors. What’s in it for Me???

It’s a good question, and talking from the other person’s point of view to gain buy-in and interest is an old tactic. In fact, one of Dale Carnegie’s 30 Human Relations Principles, introduced in his landmark 1936 book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” states:

Talk In Terms Of The Other Person’s Interests

One of the mistakes job seekers make in interviews is talking too much about themselves, about their own interests and what they want to get from a job. They spend most of the time talking about how wonderful they are and listing their accomplishments. What’s worse is going on and on about what you did in the past without any application to the job at hand.

Before you go to your next interview, think about “What’s In it for Them,” or WIIFT. Answer these questions and be ready to slip in the answers during the interview.

1.      Why should they hire you? What is it about you that is incredibly valuable or unique? If you’re awesome, give specific examples.

2.      What advantage is there to the company? Why are you so special? You may have accumulated a lot of industry experience in your past jobs, or given presentations for conferences. Are you known outside your industry as an expert? These may be enough to give you an advantage over the competition.

3.      What have you done that was extraordinary that added value to your last employer? Are you a master organizer, team leader, quality specialist? I was once hired as a human resources director because of my extensive training background. The company got an HR director and training director for the price of one.

4.      What have other employers said about your work ethic or personality? My past employers repeatedly mention that I am able to work with all levels of the organization. Do you have a history of bringing diverse groups together? An excellent problem solver? Soft skills are sorely lacking in many organizations and you may be valuable as a leader or mentor.

Are you totally awesome and a great catch for some Company? Share some traits or skills you feel can make an applicant stand out from the crowd in the Comments below.

Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a consultant, blogger, motivational speaker and freelance writer for Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in Training magazine, Training & Development magazine, Supervision, BiS Magazine and The Savannah Morning News. When she’s not writing, she enjoys singing with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus and helping clients reinvent their careers for today’s job market. You can read more of her blogs at and view additional job postings on Nexxt.

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