At some point in our careers, many of us become complacent with the interview process. We think we know the drill: arrive early, know your strengths and weaknesses, and send a thank-you note afterward. Great job tenures, impressive accomplishments backed up by numbers, and a winning personality will take us the rest of the way, right? Maybe, maybe not. Because along that same time in our career, we start competing against candidates who also know the drill.
Instead of just showing up and going through the motions, you can raise the bar by using some age-old sales techniques.
First, provide a solution.
My goal is to provide a few very competitive candidates to each requisition. Who winds up with an offer in the end is pretty unpredictable. There have been, however, a few times in my career that I’ve known the moment I debriefed a candidate they were going to get the job. Why? They showed up with a solution.
Once, a fairly green sales rep was interviewing with a technology company in a very specific niche. At the end of the interview, her potential counterpart gave her some homework: make a list of 10 companies you’d target. She had already created the list and handed it to him. Another time, a developer had learned on his first interview that the company was planning to translate their website to Chinese. On his second interview, he brought a plan for exactly how he’d do it.
Next, overcome objections.
This tip came from a veteran recruiter in our office and it’s one of my favorites. As you’re wrapping up, ask your interviewers if there are any gaps in your skillset that would prevent you from receiving an offer. Don’t be rude, just simply ask if there’s anything they might have some concerns about. You’re creating an opportunity to mitigate or refute any qualms they have before they have a chance to interview anyone else. And believe me, you’d much rather answer their concerns directly than let them mull it over themselves.
Lastly, close the deal.
Before you leave, express your interest in the job and your desire to move forward with next steps. Don’t worry, it’s not binding. Your goal is to get an offer and then evaluate whether you’re going to accept it or not. If you get booted because other candidates seem more enthusiastic, you’ll never know if it was worth it or not.
Interviewing, especially at the professional level, is much more than great communication skills and all the right answers. Remember to sell yourself and you’ll have the job in the bag.