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The Recruiter Scoop: Flipping the Script and Making Your Answers Hit Home

September 5, 2017 | Express Scripts

Chris K. is a senior recruiter responsible for hiring the technology talent to drive Express Scripts’ culture and technology transformation.

When walking into an interview, candidates are typically well prepared. They’ve studied up on the company, prepared answers for standard behavioral questions and pulled out specific examples from their work experience that demonstrate their strengths. But, there’s one thing they often forget: making sure their answers hit home.

As a technology recruiter for the past 15 years, I’ve found that candidates usually have good answers prepared for basic “tell me about a time when” sort of questions.  Assuming these interview questions speak to the true focus of the role – and you provide answers backed up by great examples – you’ll do very well in the interview. But what if this isn’t the case?  How do you make sure the role is a fit for your career goals – and position yourself as the solution to fit the team’s needs – all in the time allotted?  The answer is simple: uncover the manager’s ‘pain points’ early.

Let the Leader Lead

Although being assertive is a good thing, as an interviewee you don’t want to immediately jump in and start pumping the hiring manager with questions. Instead, get a feel for the cadence of the conversation and then begin inserting your questions.

Flip the Script

Most interviews start with a role overview, and then move to prepared questions related to the role and your experience.  You don’t have to wait for the interviewer to finish asking questions before asking yours.  Dig into their questions to show an active interest and to help uncover what is most important to them – their pain points.

For example – let’s say the manager asks you to share an example of a time you successfully completed a project.  You can gently flip the script by saying something like: “You know I’ve managed quite a few projects in my career, but I want to give you an answer that’s most relevant to your need.  Please do me a favor and tell me a little bit about how your team manages projects today and in what specific areas you’re looking to build bench strength.”  By flipping the script, you’re identifying their true pain points and providing yourself the opportunity to give an answer most relevant to their need.  You’re also gaining in-depth knowledge of how the team works and whether that’s a good fit for you.

Do Your Homework

Remember that the key to success is preparation.  Study every detail of the job description.  Turn each requirement into a question and prepare an answer with a specific example of a time when you’ve met that need.

LinkedIn should also be your new best friend when you are looking for a job.  Check out the profile of the hiring manager and any others on the interview team.  Where have they worked?  What roles have they played?  How has their career progressed?  Understanding these things will give you both perspective and an opportunity to provide examples that really speak to the team. Now, when the manager from the previous example asks you to describe a project you’ve managed, you can add something like: “Our approach was similar to the methodology you likely followed at company ABC”.  This shows you did your research and can relate.


Last but not least, be sure to come to the conversation prepared with enthusiasm and a smile.  Remember, companies hire as much for attitude and aptitude as they do for technical skill.  A great attitude and enthusiasm goes a long way.

Feel confident in your ability to flip the script in your next interview? Check out our career site for a list of our open positions.



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