Mastering the Interview With Key Messages and Sales Techniques

 In Career Tips, Job Search Strategy


Mastering the Interview Process


Dorothy Tannahill Moran

The entire job search process is really a sales and marketing activity, with you being the product being promoted.  Everything to this point has been about marketing you and selling you as the best option for this position.  Your interview is now your opportunity to “sell yourself”.  Selling is often seen as uncomfortable for some people and may have a connotation of pressuring the other person.  That is the farthest thing from the truth.  You don’t want to pressure anyone in the interview process but there are selling techniques that can be very effective at helping them see the benefit they will gain by hiring you.

The primary object in the job search process is to demonstrate that you can not only do the job but you can solve their problems in their business.  All positions exist to solve problems.  You hire an admin to do administrative work that is off loaded from an executive to allow the executive more time to do higher leveraged work.  Problem solved.  Without someone like you to fill this position, some type of issue will go undone or unresolved.  Your job is to find out what the issues are that they face so you can tell them how you can or have addressed the solutions to those issues.  You want to leave them having a clear understanding of your key messages (or personal brand).

I will outline the quick and easy sales process below but the first and highest priority is for you to develop your 3 key messages.  Your key messages are the three things you want them to remember.  Those messages are about what benefit they can derive from hiring you – or said another way – what you can do for them.  We’re not talking about your experience or previous job responsibilities; we’re talking about translating that into their terms.  They are only hiring people that they think can do get certain results or do certain things.  You have to think about their reasons for hiring you.  To help you develop your key messages here are some questions to help you formulate your key messages:

  • What are your most unique or powerful results?
  • If a hiring manager hired you, what specific results could they expect from you?
  • What do you want them to remember you for?

Some tips:

  • If you’re going to say “experience” you need to translate that.  What does a hiring manager get by hiring an experienced person like you?
  • If you’re going to say you work hard, great but what result have you achieved?

The 3 step sales process:

    1. Ask questions about the current situation
      1. What are the issues they are facing?b
      2. How does this position address those issues?
    2. Ask questions about the challenges they have with those issues.
    3. Tell them 3-5 things about yourself that addresses their issues and challenges.

As you can see, this isn’t a “hard sell”.  This is truly a dialogue where you find out specific information about the issues and challenges they face.  This allows you to translate your key messages into solutions for them.

As with the questions and responses, this will be something you will want to practice.  The easiest way to think about this process is that you are showing interest in them and want to help solve their problem.  When you are clear about the messages you want to convey to the hiring manager you become more memorable to them while making that important hiring decision.

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