I’ve been always told that an ‘interview is a sale’ and I firmly believe that candidates who ‘take control’ will invariably do better than those who ‘are controlled’. So what do I mean and how can you put it into practice?
Putting interviews to one side for a sec, in any sales situation you have a buyer and a seller. The buyer has a host of needs and the seller has something to offer. From my experience the best sales people are those that question the buyer to understand exactly what those needs are and then position their offering in a way that satisfies those needs, clear up any concerns there might be and then ask for the order.
Now whilst in an interview you need to indulge the interviewer to an extent rather than taking over, the same principles apply. Suppose you had 2 identical marketeers, the better sales person of the two will always get the offer. So putting it into practice these are the things I’d focus on;
• Research – the company, the person interviewing and the job spec – know your stuff.• Understanding the needs – prepare questions to ask to understand the role (like a CV, a job spec only tells part of the story).
• Why should they ‘buy’ you? Prepare examples to demonstrate your ability specifically for the job your interviewing for - get those down on paper and if necessary, refer to it, after all an interview isn’t a memory test. Focus on why you did something, how you did it and how effective it was. ROI is king these days.
• Challenge – an interview is a 2 way process and you want to make sure they’re right for you as much as the other way around, so ask the difficult and challenging questions. You’ll probably need to in your role.
• Close the interview – some people are more comfortable doing this than others but most people I speak to always like to hear how they’ve done, so why not ask while you’re there? It shows you care. Find out how many people they’re seeing, when they’re seeing them, if they have any concerns about you from what they’ve heard (which you can clear up then) and that you’re keen – assuming you are!
I believe that if you take control, at least as much as you’re controlled, and of course build a good rapport with the person you meet, you’ll definitely improve your success rate in interviews.