Once again lets say it together, “An interview is a sales call.” Because an interview is a sales call, bad sales habits can lose the job just the way they lose a sale. Here are some bad sales habits to be aware of:
Talking too much:
Sales is as much about listening as talking. You certainly want the hiring manager to know your strengths, skills, and experience but listen first so you know specifically what the hiring manager is looking for. Also, when you are being asked a question. Listen to the whole question first and be sure you understand it before answering. Many people start to formulate their answer in their head before the question is finished being asked.
Assume information leading to wrong answers or bad strategy:
If you have been in the same profession or the field as the job to which you are applying, there is a strong tendency to make lots of assumptions. Even if your assumptions are 95% correct the 5% can kill you. Use your assumptions to display knowledge, but test your assumptions carefully. You may assume that the company to which you are applying has the same challenges as the rest of the industry but what is their position toward the challenges. Example, “I am aware that many meat packagers such as Meatco are really being hurt by rising feed costs, are you experiencing the same raise in cost?”
Not analyzing performance:
Like sales calls, some interviews go well and others go poorly. Take the time following each interview to analyze your performance. What went well what can be improved? What was unique to this interview and what was your typical performance? What questions did you nail and which ones stumped you? What did you learn?
Not knowing what business problem you are trying to solve:
Every candidate is hired to solve a problem. Know the problem you are being hired to solve. This may be more challenging than you think. You may be interviewing for an accountant position so you would think that the problem is making sure company finances are in order. However, it may be that the more specific problem is the account receivables are delayed or the accounting system needs updating. Be sure to listen and understand the details of the problem.
Not knowing how to cope with a loss:
Not every sale goes through. Some go right down to the final decision and are lost at the end. This is particular difficult with an interview. Not only don’t you get the job but it feels very personal. Many people go into a slump when the lose a job they really wanted. The slump results in depression, lost momentum and loss of self confidence. The only answer is to have a full pipeline of opportunities so when you lose one you move on to the next. This means staying busy looking for new jobs even as you interview for a job you really want and for which you think you are well qualified.
Don’t know how to draw upon resources or get outside help
Typical candidates get called for an interview and just show up. Good candidates get called for an interview and the go into high preparation mode. They will not only research the company but try to find people they can speak with about the company and the job. They will practice their interviewing skills and will put together an interview presentation. They will show up confidant and prepared.
Setting up unrealistic expectations or making commitments you cannot fill:
Depending on your situation, you may be desperate to land the job. Landing a job you cannot do is worse than being unemployed. You will get the job, be miserable for a while and then be unemployed again and starting from scratch.
Packaging and selling yourself to a prospective employer is challenging and exciting. After all you are your most important product.