How to Interview like a Salesperson: Part 2

May 17

interview tips

In our last entry we discussed the importance of using data and key performance indicators to guide your job seeking process. Our hero, Brian, responded well to this directive and revisited his quest with a renewed sense of confidence and energy. The only problem was that he was still weak on the phone. Even with no technical expertise in his field, after asking a couple basic questions I could tell that he wouldn’t be persuasive in interviews and definitely wouldn’t get the leadership position he was going for. So we went to work on the next step:

2. Use psychology like a salesperson: Hiring managers will be the first to tell you that they don't always make good decisions. After all, if they did, they would have 100% retention and never have to interview anyone. Salespeople know that the best way to close a deal isn't an appeal to logic; it is triggering the emotional and impulsive process in your prospect. Here are some basic tips:

  • Use rapport: Always thoroughly research the hiring manager and find a common interest, then mention it right in the beginning of your call. Always send a personalized thank you to everyone you talk to and mention a specific aspect of the conversation. If someone likes you and feels comfortable with you they will want to work with you.
  • Keep it Short and Simple (KISS): The most common mistake I hear in non-salespeople during interviews is rambling. Often it seems like more information will be more persuasive, but the opposite is true. As an experiment, try answering the question, "why should I hire you?" out loud. First take 90 seconds to list all the qualifications that you can possibly think of. Next, try saying, "You will hire me because I'm an awesome person who will do an amazing job." Record both answers and listen back. This is the power of KISS. Limit all your responses to 5 or 6 sentences maximum. Your emails need to be short enough to read in 2 seconds or less. As a result you will be perceived as more confident, more persuasive, and your pitch will have more urgency.
  • Use urgency: Make sure you are driving energy in every interaction. Use bold and visionary language rather than “I think I can…” or “I hope that…”. Get out of your comfort zone and push to move the ball forward in every interaction. Would you trust someone who ended an interview with “Great, I can’t wait to get your email!” to make things happen on your team?
  • Use the Jones Effect: Make sure they know that other companies, especially competitors or household names, are pursuing and engaged with you. Nothing is as persuasive as peer pressure, especially in business. Don’t be afraid to name drop (though make sure you sound casual and friendly), or ask a hiring manager what makes their company different than a competitor.
  • Use Fear of Loss: Make sure they know you will be on the market for a limited time, that you are busy talking to others. Don’t let your phone screen drag on forever. Try, “Hey I have another phone interview in 5 minutes but I’ve really enjoyed talking to you - what’s better for an in-person meeting, tomorrow, or later in the week?”

Here at AlwaysHired we turn normal people into professional salespeople. But every smart CEO, every inspiring manager, and every successful business owner realizes that every business interaction is always about selling. Adopt this mindset as a job seeker and you will propel your career to new heights.

Once Brian stopped rambling and started mentioning other opportunities to hiring managers his whole world changed. Rather than being seen as just another wanna-be IT manager, recruiters actually started to see him as hot commodity. More opportunities led to more confidence, which ultimately made negotiations feel fun and easy. At the end of the day, my question was answered. Not only are sales skills effective outside the world of sales professionals, they are more necessary than ever. If you are interviewing you owe it to yourself to learn these techniques and close the best deal of your life.

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