Research. Homework. Hours spent pouring over statistical facts and opinions. Each of us engages in this kind of activity when we take interest in something. We want to know more and develop a greater understanding of that which is foreign to us.


Just as we would engage in this behavior when taking on a new hobby or sport, the same goes for those who are seeking a new job or change in career path.  The hunt is on! And if you want to become proficient in your efforts, then you have to spend time gaining a better understanding of not only yourself but also the company from which you are seeking employment. You make a mental note of all the things that you ‘need’ from your potential employer (adequate pay, fair treatment, respect, etc.). But, have you stopped to consider what your hiring manager needs from you? Like, legitimately needs… beyond mere punctuality and general performance of duties. Why is the company hiring to begin with? There is something that is currently lacking, a void that needs to be filled and is causing someone a great deal of painful aggravation in the meantime.


The idea of business pain has existed for many years but has only more recently become a necessary piece of homework to consider for the job seeker. When you understand the value you can contribute to your potential employer, then you become better able to negotiate and purpose how your valued experience can be of use. Their struggle is real. The growth pains that the business may be experiencing are putting the hiring manager in a daily bind and more pressed to fill the position with a capable and efficient employee. “By the time a tight-fisted CFO or division controller give a manager the green light to make a new hire, the manager is dying for help.” In the midst of this pain that the hiring manager finds himself or herself in, you can be ready to jump in and offer real solutions. Solutions that are well-developed and have proven helpful in bringing success to business’ in your past.


When reading through your prospective job description, you have to learn to decipher the underlying cries for help. Liz Ryan, a contributing writer for Forbes Magazine, writes on this very topic. Ryan writes that, “the Essential Requirements on the job ad have little to do with what’s really going on in the department.” It’s your job, now, to make an educated guess about the business pain lurking behind the job ad. You must learn just enough to “let the manager know you’re familiar with the problems he’s struggling with.  If you can reach the hiring manger with a message about the very business pain he’s experiencing, you can have a substantive conversation about pain and its relief.” Three principal business-pain vortices for job-seekers include Pain Letters, Dragon-Slaying Stories, and Pain Interviewing.


Ryan goes as far as saying that that job-seekers who “give up trumpeting their fabulousness and zero in on their hiring manager’s pain” do not have to worry about getting their next job….the position has been filled.