There is a basic rule in selling. You can’t sell anything to anyone unless you have control over the conversation, and this probably applies more in getting a job than selling a product or a service. The only way to know what someone is thinking right now is when he/she is talking, not you. That doesn’t mean you should depend only on listening, you must also be prepared to talk at the right time.
Think about how differently the interview would go if you responded to the interviewer’s question, “Tell me about yourself,” with, “I’d like to tell you about myself. However, could I first ask you a couple of questions regarding the position?” Now you have control over the interview and you know what the interviewer could be thinking of. Using this one phrase, you have set the interview on the right track.
Below are seven steps for selling your skills while applying to a successful job interview:
Step 1 – Approach:
You’ll introduce yourself, smile, be engaged and get interested in what the interviewer is saying. You’ll use the interviewer’s name when addressing him/her and you’ll develop association by using a friendly silent questioning stare; it is a body language sign that shows you’re listening carefully and encouraging the interviewer to tell you more.
Step 2 – Collecting information:
This is where the “Tell me about yourself” question occurs. Get the interviewer to talk with a response like, “I would like to tell you about myself. However, first I would like to ask a couple of questions. Is that all right?” When s/he agrees, you’ll ask a series of questions to gain the information you need to assess whether the job will be right for you or not.
Step 3 – Agreement on need:
This where you’ll ask the most important question of all: “What are some of the things you are looking for in a candidate for this position?” This is how you’ll determine whether the job fits you or not. If it doesn’t, this is the time to elegantly terminate the interview. Say that this position isn’t what you’re looking for, thank the interviewer for his or her time and politely excuse yourself.
Step 4 – Sell your skills:
This is normally the step in the selling process where you can show the passion about what you are selling. Since you are the “product”, share your own attributes. “Let me tell you a little about myself”. Make sure that the things you talk about is actually related to the job, such as your education and experience. You could share information about your goals, travel or a family situation if they are relevant. Finally, ask, “What questions do you have about my background?” to get the interviewer to talk again.
Step 5 – Fill the need:
In this step, you’ll drive home why you’re the one for the job. Say something like, “There are several important experiences I would bring to the company and this position such as …” and then relate how your education, expertise, goals, etc. will benefit the company in a series of feature/benefit/reaction sequences. These sequences should be specific. “My years of experience doing … and my passion for … will help me increase your company’s profits”. Now take him/her to the next step by asking a release question such as, “What questions do you have?” Once the interviewer has asked any clarifying questions, this is the time to ask about compensation and estimated start date for the position. “When would you like the new hire to start?”
Step 6 – Act of commitment:
This is the close of the sale. Make a statement such as, “If I can arrange my schedule to start on the date you would like, can you think of any reason why you wouldn’t hire me?” Unlike most interviews that end with the interviewer saying, “We’ll call you,” this closing approach allows for honesty between you and the interviewer. You’re communicating your interest in the position and if s/he is interested in you, you’ll most likely get an indication at this point.
Step 7 – Cement the sale:
This is your graceful exit from the interview. Say something like, “Thanks very much for meeting me, I appreciate you taking the time to give me the information on the position and the company. I will look forward to start my role with your successful company.” This confirms what you and the interviewer discussed, and also it’s a friendly, professional close to the interview. Remember to shake the interviewer’s hand as you leave.