Do You Have an Interview Game Plan?
What is the best way to prepare for a job interview? You will need an interview game plan. This blog will focus on four tools from the game plan that will help you approach an interview from the perspective of a salesperson.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began this year, there has been a significant increase in the UK unemployment numbers. The Office for National Statistics reported that 730,000 jobs have been lost from company payrolls between March and July 2020. Now more than ever, strong interview skills are crucial to improve your chances of receiving a job offer.
The ability to perform effectively at interviews is a skillset that you will need throughout your working life. People will change jobs several times during their career. You may desire a change in career direction or seek to work in a new sector. The choice to change your job may not be in your control: you may unexpectedly find yourself without a job due to redundancy. Organisations often undergo restructuring to survive in a changing global economy. A study by the Association of Accounting Technicians estimates that the average person in the UK will work for at least six different employers over their lifetime
An Interview is a Selling Opportunity
A job interview and a sales meeting have a common goal. The goal is to persuade the hiring manager or customer that you can deliver the best skills/products to solve their problem.
The objective of a sales meeting is to persuade the customer to buy your product or service. To be effective, you will need to understand what is important to the customer: develop solutions to solve their problems or increase profits or deliver to their bottom line. It is important to emphasise the benefits of your brand/product.
In the job market, I would view a prospective candidate as a brand and, therefore, it is important to apply the key principles of selling to approach the interview. Before the interview panel can buy your brand, they must be persuaded to buy into the benefits and unique selling points of your offer.
Identify your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is crucial if you want to stand out in the job market. Do you know what your unique selling point is? To identify your personal brand, you will need to assess your unique skills and experience. What different experiences or skills do you have that will make you stand out from the crowd. Is there an area in your work experience that is distinct from your colleagues? Do you have some unique projects that you have worked on or have you worked with unique clients? To get noticed, it is crucial to expand on how you are different from other candidates.
Think Like a Hiring Manager
The most important person in the interview room is the hiring manager (customer). The interview is all about the hiring manager’s needs and priorities. Address the organisation’s important priorities, highlight your past achievements that connect to the company’s targets and challenges.
You need to understand the company’s background so you can pitch your key selling points and benefits. Find out who the organisation’s competitors are and where they stand compared to them. Identify what problems you can solve for the organisation – remember, people are hired to solve problems. Put together evidence to support your achievements. Use industry language to communicate the benefits and the added value you bring.
To confidently communicate the benefits of your skills and experience to an interview panel, you must understand what is important to this organisation. When a company is selling a product to a new customer, they must conduct market research on their target market. These two examples highlight the benefits to the customers and link to the customer’s needs
Preparation and Confidence
There is a clear link between preparation and confidence. Why are some people confident in interviews while others are not? Can we learn to be more confident? Confidence is a skill that can be developed. It takes a commitment and consistent practice for interview skills to develop. Building confidence works in the same way as developing a muscle during weight training. You must make a commitment to train your mind to build the confidence in this skill. It takes a time to change how you view your ability to perform with confidence. Do you believe you are the best candidate for the job? When you walked into the building for the interview, could you see yourself walking in that building every morning to work for that organisation? Belief starts in the mind. Everything starts with a thought. Ask yourself, why do you believe you are the best candidate for the job?
“Everyone is a salesman, and the product is each person. Personal branding is being conscious to the continual nature of selling yourself”. Jarod Kintz
Remember, we are all brands in today’s extremely competitive job market. Where do you rank yourself compared to your peers in the organisation where you work? How would you define your brand? I would encourage you to evaluate your unique selling points and the benefits you would bring to an organisation.
How did you perform at your last interview? If you want to improve your performance, you must receive feedback. No matter how disappointed you may feel about not receiving a job offer, it is crucial to request feedback from the hiring manager. The feedback can help you identify weak areas in your interview performance that may require further development. The hiring manger might provide you with valuable guidance that you can use in your next job interview.
If you wish to take your interview performance to the next level, it is important to learn the key principles of selling and have an interview game plan.