The Interview is a Sales Call. Lou Adler states it quite clearly on LinkedIn in a post called: “Change the World: Treat the Interview as a Sales Call.”
This is not a great revelation. In fact, if you don’t get this, you’re likely going to be disappointed with your interviewing results, either as a candidate or as an employer or hiring manager.
The bigger question for me is “who are you”? Do you have something of value to offer? What makes you special, and can you back that up with results?’
If you have figured that out in your mind and in your heart, you will hire the right people more often than not, you will receive offers when you interview, and you will land in interesting positions because you will make it interesting with your added value.
Three ideas I would suggest that will help you figure out who you are or who you want to be, and how you will learn to articulate value:
1. Live with a mission. Create some high expectations, define those expectations in writing, and live that mission every day.
I work with a company who recently decided to redefine their customer service, which was already pretty good, as ‘wicked awesome service.’ Now most of their employees who’ve been exposed to their new mission like that phrase. ‘That’s who we are,’ they say. In fact, defining that as part of their mission actually raises the bar of customer service expectations for everybody, and employee ownership of their ‘wicked awesome service’ gives that company an edge, including when they interview candidates.
2. Get comfortable talking about what you do with other people.
Some very talented people I know stumble and mumble when you ask them about their accomplishments. They’ve done some great work; they just prefer (at least somewhere in their heads) modesty over braggadocio. Unfortunately, Milquetoast doesn’t work when you want a better job. It’s not rocket science; talking about yourself takes practice. Those who do it well get more better-job offers because they understand and can articulate why they are a valuable member of any team they join. It’s not bragging; it’s just being candid and honest. Try it. It will get easier over time.
3. Be someone who always makes a contribution.
What’s the difference between a young person who is in eighteen different activities, and a young person who really cares about one or two things, and learns to excel at those certain things at an early age? Who adds value when they’re 25? In my experience, the blue-chipper is the person who really cares about something, and gives that something her or his all. They become people other people admire; they make the contributions that others say, ‘how did they do that? They are amazing!’
This is true for companies and for people. When a company gets really good at making or providing one particular product or service, people will flock to experience that passion, and that added value. And in interviewing as in life, we all need some raving fans. You create your raving fan base when you decide you will always make a contribution.