How to Sell Yourself to Interviewers
Have you always believed that a job interview is a friendly discussion with someone who has your best interests at heart? Absolutely not so! An interview is a classic sales encounter. You are the seller who meets a potential employer, the buyer, and you must perform like a dynamic salesperson to convince that buyer that you are worth purchasing.
Successful sales people follow specific strategies to sell a product. You can be just as successful selling your product - you - to an interviewer. Here are the strategies to use:
1. Know your market. The catchword in real estate is location, location, location. In interviewing, it's research, research, research. Market research is the key to success. Learning about a potential employer allows you to identify sales "hot buttons" and link your answers to company objectives. Before you interview, learn all you can about the company's culture, mission, products and structure.
Here are some comprehensive research:resources: a) Google the company name to discover its website. b) BusinessWire.com - the leading source for press releases, photos, multimedia and regulatory filings from companies throughout the world. c) WetFeet.com - company overviews and rankings as well as career advice. d) Hoovers.com - company information with detailed business reports and industry profiles. d) The Annual Reports Library - original annual reports from corporations, foundations, banks, mutual funds and public institutions. e) Thomas Register (thomasnet.com) - comprehensive information on suppliers of industrial products and services in North America.f) CorporateInformation.com - free corporate profiles. g) EarningsWhispers.com - earnings information for corporations directly from securities analysts.
2. Know your product. You! What are your strengths? Your skills? Your accomplishments? How will you benefit the company? Do you have complete product knowledge of yourself? Not just your functional talents like marketing, finance, IT, human resources, etc., but the broad abilities you possess such as negotiating, forecasting, organizing. And personality-based traits like assertiveness, dedication, and interpersonal skills.
3. Show the benefits of your product. Example: men don't buy electric drills. They buy the holes that the drills make. Women don't buy shampoo. They buy the softness, shine and clean hair that the shampoo produces. What can you as a product do for the company? What benefits can you provide? Review your career for examples of exceptional performance and accomplishments. Write down brief anecdotes describing these successes and how they relate to the employer's goals.
4. Counter objections. Identify potential objections in your background and develop answers to difficult questions about your skills, experience level, or education. Then if an objection is raised, you can quickly and assertively offer a solution. This is called "cushioning" an objection by salespeople.
Example: Interviewer: "I see you have only a 2-year degree. We prefer candidates to have their bachelor's. Your answer: "Yes, I can certainly understand the need for more education and that has been one of my career goals. I have completed more than . . . "
5. Use the ABC's of sales - Always Be Closing. If you are interested in the position, then like a good sales person, you want to ask for the order. Say something like: "I am very interested in this position. What is the next step?" or "Where do we go from here?"
© Copyright BJ Rakow 2012 rev. All rights reserved.
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