Let's say the majority of companies in the industry adopt a specific strategy, technology or method X to achieve their core business targets and it works just fine and is recognized as the industry standard.

I spent most of my recent career working on (and with) method Y, which is known to be much more advanced, but which only a handful of companies have tested, because most are still wary/scared to adopt it. My experience with Y is also proof that Y works and even multiple times better (more efficient, productive, profitable) than the standard method X. Few good industry experts are aware of this, as well as only the most up-to-date hiring managers.

I am also convinced that method X will be obsolete within very short time and it would be in the best interest for companies to switch to Y ASAP. I am sue many will decide to implement innovations soon, and I have strong experience in implementing the system, rather than just operating it.

However, the majority of vacancies in my field/function still require experience with method X as one of the core aspects of the role, and it is extremely unlikely that HR people and average hiring managers would be able to tell the benefits of Y over X - let alone recruitment agencies!

In other words, in addition to selling myself at the interview, I need to sell this skill/method/technology/strategy in order to meet the criteria.

How should I best approach a situation like this? Should I persuade with numbers and benefits? Or focus on how my experience matches with the job spec? Should I keep the topic until the end of the interview or elaborate on it on the resume?

Edit: My current company also used X in the past and I was an employee long before Y was implemented. Thus, having seen and evaluated the results of both, and the changes thereafter, returning to X is truly like a return to the Stone Age :) I am absolutely confident that Y will work in any company. It does involve change; heck, it involves reorganizing not just one team but several business units, but I have managed that process and feel that going back to X would also be a downgrade to my own career. Maybe I could rephrase my question as: How can I find jobs that involve business-wide innovation, or which are open to such innovation?


4 Answers 4


Your original question can really be phrased as: How do you convince a company to hire you to change their processes?

The answer is that you have to show them a serious financial reason to change. Businesses know that change is costly. Not only that but it's risky. If industry experts won't agree with you right now then your method will be seen as carrying a tremendous risk to them, which most managers try to avoid.

Quite frankly it's probably far easier for you to become proficient at method X than it will be for you to convince a business owner, who is making money in this field doing X, that he needs to abandon that and do Y.

Which, actually, brings up an interesting aside: How could you possibly know that method Y is far superior to method X unless you are an expert at both? If this is the case then getting a job working with method X should be trivial. That would allow you to advance your case internally which is still hard, but far easier.

However, I wouldn't personally go that route. If you are an expert in a methodology that you truly believe the entire industry is going to move to, then you should consider starting your own company in that industry. Beat everyone else to the punch and prove the superiority of Y. Bearing in mind, that "better" must include being a cheaper/more lucrative alternative.

Look at how to patent certain aspects of it - if possible. While at it, get some venture capital. That part alone will force you to figure out if Y is really better than X and the real financial benefits involved. Along the way you're likely to figure out exactly why the current experts aren't keen on it. If you can convince guys with money to back you, then you are probably on the right track.

  • My current company also used X in the past and I was an employee long before Y was implemented. Thus, having seen and evaluated the results of both, and the changes thereafter, returning to X is truly like a return to the Stone Age :) I am absolutely confident that Y will work in any company. It does involve change; not just one team but several business units. Maybe I could rephrase my question as: How can I find jobs that involve business-wide innovation, or which are open to such innovation? May 21, 2014 at 6:44
  • With regards to your suggestion to build my own company - well, without going into too many details, I can reveal that the whole point of Y is about bringing a traditionally outsourced method X inside the company (vertical integration is the academic word I think) by using a technology "a" that significantly cuts costs and improves performance/profit. The technology is widely available so there is nothing to patent, but few businesses had the courage/motivation/drive to actually implement it, instead allowing 3rd parties to manage their X method. Hope this makes sense. May 21, 2014 at 6:57
  • @LoneRanger354: As a business owner, if I have made the decision to change then I'll seek out those with experience at it. However if I am not considering change then the fact that someone has experience with a particular change isn't germane to my current needs; and they aren't likely to convince me that it's necessary. That said, there are consulting companies that specialize in helping businesses transition from one thing to another, which you could certainly build a new business around. This includes transition planning, training and potentially expertise support.
    – NotMe
    May 21, 2014 at 14:36
  • 2
    Essentially you are asking how to do a "sales" job during an interview. That'll never work. The reason for the interview, from the company perspective, is to find someone that knows X. If you come in for a job working with X and tell me that Y is so much better then I'll go with a different candidate as you are indicating a lack of desire of performing the role I need filled.
    – NotMe
    May 21, 2014 at 14:37

The first thing you need to know: Over qualification exists and it will cost you landing that job. Do put it on the Resume, but do not over sell it. Do, however, sell yourself on the items they want.

Employers do not want someone who is worth more than the position they are attempting to fill. If your skill goes past it, and they know your very versed in the skill, they will feel discouraged in hiring you. Because then at which point they feel obligated to pay more. No company right now wants to do that.

Your focus should be what the Employer wants. Most Interviews, while most do not say this, are really set talk points of what they want to hear. Hearing about change that goes against current policy is another one.

In short sell yourself to the company, the way they want. Research into companies via employees and other failed interviewees to find out which job positions require certain skills. What not to say and what to say.

That being said, be current to the company interviewing for.


Your question is:

How to discuss a skill, technology or method on my resume that is superior to the standard one required on the job specs?

You can discuss it on the outset. But ultimately, you are being hired by them to work for them within their process. So you would have to work in their process at least long enough to then explain how your process would benefit them more.

And you have to be ready their response to be ambivalent to negative at best. And be thrilled if they decide to follow your process so easily.

You generally cannot just ride into a new job & expect the world to change. But you can expect that after 3-6 months you will be respected enough to bring new ideas to the table.

  • Thanks JakeGould, could you please read my edit and comments to Chris Lively? In essence, I am truly convinced that my next job should be about Y or innovating processes, rather than following a process. Are there such vacancies? Is it possible to glean that info from normal job specs about how much space for innovation there is? I know this might be a different question, but it is related to my specific problem. May 21, 2014 at 7:44

focus on how my experience matches with the job spec

This is always better. Your knowledge shows you have broader experience and would be a benefit should they choose to make the switch.

Don't get into, "this is so much better" type of claim/debate especially during an interview. Here's my argument: I have a massive code base with dozens of developers who know language X and have to make corrections and slight enhancements ASAP. My customers don't care about Y. Have you really considered what it will cost this company to make the transition? Of course you can save a lot of money if you buy a 50kg sack of flour, but is it really worth carrying it to the car and up to a one room apartment?

Context is everything and until you understand how any company or business really operates on a daily basis, your suggestions can be tailored to the situation and get the best response.

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