The most important thing to realize about a job interview is that it’s really a sales pitch. Employers use the interview process to sell their company and employees use it to sell themselves.
Of course, it’s understandable that many of you will cringe at the thought of sales pitching yourself, but in all honesty, it’s easier than you think.
According to Daniel Pink, author of “To Sell is Human, The Surprising Truth About Moving Others”, we can all benefit from a very simple sales tactic called the ABC’s of selling and persuasion. More importantly, the ABC’s of selling can be adapted to pretty well everything, including a job interview.
Attunement – Attunement is about getting on the same wavelength as your interviewer by listening carefully and attuning yourself to their perspective. It involves putting yourself in their shoes and trying to understand the priorities that are most important to them. Do this and you’ll be able to pinpoint an organization’s true objective and align yourself as the person who can best fill their needs. In most cases, during your interview the interviewer will reveal what they are really looking for. Sometimes they’ll tell you outright, other times they will allude to what’s important to them. Listen carefully and you will hear it. And, when you do, respond with something like “I am pleased you mentioned that as I have experience and skills in X, Y and Z”.
Buoyancy – Buoyancy can be described as optimistic resilience. People that have a genuine passion and enthusiasm for what they do are usually able to sell and persuade more easily. When being interviewed, lean forward, and show an eagerness to learn more. When answering questions, try to deliver your answers in a positive, upbeat and passionate way. Best of all, you don’t have to be an extrovert to properly sell yourself. In Pink’s studies, he found that those who fall between introverts and extroverts tend to speak and listen proportionately, giving them the best sales results.
Clarity – Clarity involves ending your interview with a clear and effective summarizing statement. The best sales people give great closing speeches. Pink noted that good sellers can sum up the relevant information into a short closing speech. Before you walk out of an interview, deliver a closing statement that connects your skills, passion and enthusiasm to the prospective employer’s key priorities and identified problems. For example, you could say, “As I understand it, your key priorities are X, Y, Z, and I believe I am the ideal candidate for this role because I can do X, Y and Z.
It’s true: job interviews can be intimidating. The best way to prepare for them is through practice. Whether you do mock interviews with a friend or family member, go on numerous interviews, or get coaching support from HR professionals, the ABC’s of selling should always be kept top of mind.