Give me How and I will tell you Why

Jun 2, 2010 by

Why do you keep failing at interviews? Why don’t you get more interviews? Why isn’t anyone calling you about your CV?

If you’re asking these kinds of questions then it’s time to change the question.

It’s time to ask “How” instead of “Why”…

3 Reasons to ask How:

There’s not much point in monkeying about with this issue – you need to be convinced about why it is that “Why” is not the best option.

Reason 1: Why = Negative.

Have you noticed how “Why” questions are inherently negative? Let’s look at the ones we started this article with:

Why do you keep failing at interviews?

The focus here is on looking back over your shoulder and dwelling on the reasons why you failed at that interview. Let’s be honest, is that question going to make you feel good or bad about yourself?

Have you tried a How question? Try this one for size: “How can I come first at interview?”

Why don’t you get more interviews?

There could be any number of reasons why you don’t get many interviews right now. We could waste our time listing them, sure. Or we could find a way to focus away from the Why of the problem and get our minds around the How of the solution.

“How can I get more interviews?”

Doesn’t that feel better?

Why isn’t anyone calling you about your CV?

To illustrate how pointless this question is let me ask you a bad example of a How question: “How long is a piece of string?”

Ok, I’m being cheeky now… sorry about that. The thing is, you don’t need to focus on why your CV is failing.

There are no silver-bullet CVs. That being a given, if you give your CV to 20 different recruiters you’ll get 20 different answers to that question: “Why didn’t you call me when you saw my CV?” (which is what you are basically asking).

Try this: “How can I get more calls off the back of my CV?”

Reason 2: How = Solutions

When you start asking “How” you move from a problem towards a solution. In short, you start looking for things that you can do. You begin to search for solutions… and you’ll find them.

Solutions move you towards action. It’s that action that will get you what you want.

How will move you forward, instead of sitting on your chair asking, “Why?”

(Is there anything more irritating than a child sitting there asking, “Why, why, why?”)

Reason 3: How Empowers You

When you ask “Why” then you will tend to find answers that  focus on the factors that, generally, you can’t do much about.

Why didn’t you come first at that interview? Well… maybe the interviewer liked someone else more than you… or they had already decided… or they thought your experience wasn’t as good as the other lady… or whatever.

Shift to asking, “How can I come first at interview?”

The question itself will shift your mindset towards accepting your own responsibility for the outcome of the next interview. That, in turn, will lead you try something different. The change will, eventually, lead you to a success.

There are DOZENS of things that you can do to help you win at interview. There are loads of articles on interviews that we have already written, so perhaps you would like to check some out. Why not scroll down to the bottom of the page, look at the Tags box, and click on the word that fits your area of stress? Under “Interviews” or “CVs” alone you will find some help. Honest.

What do you do next?

Albert Einstein is reported to have said something about how insanity is continuing to do something that isn’t working. It’s important, when things aren’t working, to switch things around and try something new.

New ideas will come from asking, “How”.

How can you take your job search to the winning post?



  1. Tweets that mention Give me How and I will tell you Why | JobSwot -- - [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Che Webster, Che Webster. Che Webster said: Give me How and I'll ...
  2. Jobsearch = RejectionFest | JobSwot - [...] Give Me ‘How’ And I Will Tell You ‘Why’. [...]

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