Business Pain and the Job Search

A term which gets a lot of talk these days is “Business Pain.” For many job seekers, this term seems ambiguous at best. Business pain? What the heck is that, and why are we only now hearing about it?

Business pain boils down to big problems that managers have to face. Designing a prettier product isn’t business pain, but extreme employee dissatisfaction is. These pains are large problems that cause issues within the system of the business as a whole. Business pain has been around for years, but has only recently entered the vernacular under that title. And solving these big pains is one of the best ways to make yourself a valuable employee.

Identifying business pain can be tricky, especially from an outside perspective, so you have to read between the lines and do a little digging. If you already work for the company and want to identify potential pain points, look at the functions in the company. Is there anything that could be done faster? Are there redundancies in the systems? What parts stall on a regular basis? Looking for business pain is sort of like looking for issues in the engine of a car: you have to figure out which parts aren’t working right to find the problem.

From outside of a company, the job can be a little more complicated. You have to make an educated guess about potential pain points based on clues from the job ad and from the interview. When applying for a job, read the primary responsibilities and required qualifications carefully. Try and read it from a managerial perspective. What business pain galvanized the hiring manager to write this particular job ad?

In the interview itself, be willing to take a risk and ask directly about business pain. A good way to phrase the question is “What do you perceive to be the biggest inhibitor to X?” This X could be sales, growth, maybe even employee engagement. Use the educated guess you made from the job ad to determine what would best fit into the question.

Being able to identify and ask questions about business pain will help you identify yourself as a valuable team asset. You don’t have to have all the answers to solve the pain. The goal is to suggest that you could solve the business pain if you were hired. If you invest time in offering to solve the problem, i.e., fix the business pain, that will probably get you more notice than merely expounding on your skills and experience.

Are you interested in learning how to get noticed for more jobs? Emails us at We offer free initial consultations, and have helped hundreds of career changers make successful transitions.

By: Julia Pillard, Career Solutions Group