Landing the Job: 4 Sales Strategies For Interviews
It’s fair to say that we’re all sales people to some extent in our work lives – selling the team on a new strategy…selling the boss on granting a raise or promotion – and we’re most definitely in sales mode when it comes to interviewing for a job.
When you walk into an interview, you’re a sales person selling you – so, for those of you in a job hunt, equipping yourself with basic sales techniques can be a valuable asset as you embark on your search.
Dave Kahl, a veteran sales executive, speaker and trainer with Value Selling Associates, says approaching an interview with a sales mindset can make a helpful difference. “The strategies that professional sales people use to manage sales opportunities can be used in an interview to help you land the job,” Kahl explains. “It’s just a matter of knowing how to apply them.” Kahl recommends putting these four sales strategies to work during your next interview:
- Put the Focus On the Decision-Maker – The more you can make the decision-maker – in this case, your interviewer – the “star of the show”, the better. Keep answers to interviewers’ questions brief and to the point – turning the conversation back to them with your own questions as much as possible. When you’re focused on information gathering – as a sales person would do with a potential customer – rather than talking at your interviewer with a lengthy pitch, you can learn more about the job and the company. Also, studies have shown that when the interviewer does a fair amount of the talking, he/she tends to view the interview more favorably.
- Ask Thoughtful Questions – As a sales person does her homework before calling on a new prospect, having well-researched questions about the company you’re interviewing with is key. Also, questions such as: “Who is your ideal candidate?” “How will success in this position be measured?” and “How long have you been with the company?” are helpful in engaging your interviewer and gaining more insight. When your interviewer is opening up to the conversation, and answering your questions, you can better learn her needs, and better respond with how your skills match those needs.
- Communicate Your USP – In sales, it’s all about what differentiates your product from the competition, or your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Gaining a deeper understanding of what your interviewer is looking for, you can convey your USP – the qualities that set you apart from the pack. It’s all about communicating how you can solve the company’s “pain”/ challenges if you are hired for the position.
- Close the Deal – Toward the end of a conversation, professional salespeople inquire about next steps in the decision-making process, and interviewees can do the same. Asking about the evaluation process (ie: Number of other candidates being considered? Additional decision-makers involved?), gives you a sense of your interviewer’s time frame, and steps moving forward. Lastly, asking your interviewer if they have any final questions about your qualifications is a good way to gauge where you stand as you wrap up. It also allows you one more opportunity to answer any of your interviewer’s concerns or “meet objections”, as a sales person does, so you can end on a strong note.
I hope Dave Kahl’s strategies can be helpful to you on the job-search trail. Here’s to soon hearing those wonderful, life-changing words, “You’re hired!”
Here is an additional resource that will come in handy.