Turn Your Interview Into An Influential Sales Conversation

Make the most out of your interview by embracing it as the opportunity it is and influence them that YOU are the best-fit candidate

 

It is no secret managers, human resource professionals and recruiters often receive stacks and stacks of resumes. The large pile usually turns significantly smaller once they’ve managed to achieve their first objective — disqualifying candidates in order to manage the overwhelming number of resume submissions.

What I want to encourage job seekers to realize is that once your resume HAS reached the short-stack, your opportunity for further qualifying yourself and closing the job deal skyrockets. So rather than feeling at the mercy of what sometimes feels like a merciless job interview process, once you have inched your way past the excruciating screening, exploit the opportunity!

Make the most out of your interview by embracing it as the opportunity it is — a chance to show an employer how proactive and able you are to engage in a collaborative conversation, which oftentimes is less interview and more so a consultative sales environment.

Preparing oneself for this conversational process is necessary to ensure you are equipped with the right words to influence, connect, cajole and even disarm the hiring decision-maker and influence them that YOU are the best-fit candidate.

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In an exchange on Twitter, Mike Haberman (@MikeHaberman) said,

“The consultative sales call approach works for both parties in the interview, but may be interchangeable based on interest.”
As such, when you are afforded the opportunity to perform in this consultative role, be prepared to maximize every word, every communication nuance. Moreover, in some instances, with an unprepared or inexperienced interviewer, you may even be in the driver’s seat, steering the conversation.

Here are 6 points that will help you make the most of the moment.

Be prepared

First, realize that being consultative means that before proffering your solution to what ails your client (the hiring manager, the human resource pro, the recruiter), you must be equipped with ample research and a few smart questions. Make it a point to also find supporting evidence that will draw the line between your qualities and the needs the company needs filled.

Compile the right data

Make sure you’re walking into the conversation with an above average understanding of where the company stands and what qualities it is made up of. Check out websites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Hoovers.com, ZoomInfo.com and Manta.com to compile specific company information. Turn to content-driven sites like Forbes.com, Bizjournals.com or Wall Street Journal (online.wsj.com) to stay up-to-date on industry news.

Rehearse so as not to stumble

Prepare responses to some of the most typical interview questions, having readymade answers will help you feel more confident and show the hiring manager you are incredibly prepared.

Here are a few to make sure you’ve mastered:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  •  What is the greatest value you can bring to us?
  •  How long do you intend to stay?
  •  Why do you want to leave your present position?
  •  What is the most stressful situation you have experienced at work within the past year, and how did you handle it?
  •  What would your current (or past) employer say about your work?

Ask questions. Always ask questions.

The consultative process means you’re interviewing them as much as they are you. Draw on information you researched to make sure you’re not asking a question that is easily found on their website. Instead aim for questions that demonstrate you were invested in them as a potential dream company.

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A sampling of questions you may ask them:

  • What are the greatest challenges you’re facing in your industry?
  •  Is your industry/business growing?
  •  What main factors do you attribute to your growth?
  •  What do you attribute to the success of your company?
  •  What makes you better than your nearest competitor?
  •  Can you tell my why this position is open?

Follow-up

After the interview is an opportunity to mine for gold. Think: What went well at the interview, what didn’t go so well, and what areas were left untapped? Address those in a sales letter that not only expresses appreciation for the interview (the “thank-you”), but also squarely addresses and overcomes potential weaknesses that were spotted and/or bridges gaps in presenting your value that you simply did not have time to address during the interview.

Bottom Line: Interviewing is a consultative sales call and sometimes requires multiple contacts and conversations to “close” the sale. As humans, though we don’t always want to be “sold,” per se, we want to be convinced that we are making the right buying decision. It is your job as the job candidate to influence the hiring management that they would be making the best decision for them, for their department and for their company by investing in your talent.

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Previously published in LinkedIn Pulse