Why is Hiring You A Good Idea- Does the Interviewer Know?

December 3, 2012

Good Idea

Hire You- Good Idea!

Why Hiring You Is a Good Idea

Good salespeople lead a buyer through a sales process toward a purchase. They begin by understanding the buyer’s needs and linking the features of their service to those needs. They then talk about value-adds, tell success stories about purchasers who’ve used their service, provide an implementation plan, and finally summarize why they are the best choice based on the benefits their service provides. Good salespeople understand that prospects won’t understand why they should buy a service simply because they’ve been told about it. Buyers need to be informed very directly, in simple language, of why the salesperson’s service is the best purchasing decision.

The critical element in a purchasing decision is the benefits. No buyer purchases a service without clearly seeing the benefits she will get from the service. But most job candidates focus on the skills and experience they bring to the job and don’t clearly state the benefits the company will derive from hiring them. They never clearly communicate, “This is why hiring me is a good idea.”

Don’t Let Hiring Managers Guess about Hiring You

The traditional interview consists of a question-and-answer format resulting in the hiring manager putting together the information she has heard and making a decision (guess) about which candidate to hire. But why let the hiring manager come to her own conclusion? Following your interview(s), the hiring manager should have a clear picture of why hiring you is a good idea[md]because you have told her exactly why!

Part of your interview preparation is developing a list of the benefits the company will get from hiring you. These benefits are even more powerful if they differentiate you from the competition. Going into an interview with this list of benefits will help you be focused and more confident. However, this list is of value only if you share it with the hiring manager.

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Interviewing- What’s Your Implementation Plan?

October 22, 2012

Implement Your Skills and Experience

Implement Your Skills and Experience

As part of a sales presentation, a salesperson tells the customer how the product or service will be implemented: “Once you sign the contract, the first thing we’ll do is x, and this should be completed in y days.” This helps the customer understand and visualize how the service will begin to provide value. A good implementation plan includes a number of steps or goals and a timeline.

You’re selling your services- do you present an implementation plan? Almost all candidates ignore how they will begin their employment, assuming that implementation is up to the employer. But by presenting an implementation plan, you communicate to the interviewer a motivation for the position, knowledge of the position requirements, and a message that you will add value to the organization quickly- all strong “hire me” messages.

A strategic action plan consists up to seven goals that you want to accomplish in the first 30 and 60 days in the position. I suggest this time frame because it is long enough to develop specific goals but not so long that you will be suggesting goals that require a far better understanding of the position. Some candidates prefer to develop 90-day goals, and some of my clients have been asked in interviews about their goals for the first 100 days. The more senior the position, the more sense it makes to develop longer-range goals.

Be S.M.A.R.T. with Your Goals

Coined by George T. Doran in the November 1981 issue of Management Review, S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is a well-defined goal. You probably won’t have all the information you need to develop comprehensive S.M.A.R.T goals for your interview, but you should try to come as close as possible. Also, questions interviewers ask are typically related to S.M.A.R.T issues, so you will be prepared to answer the questions.

Specific

You’re more likely to accomplish a specific goal than a general one. To set a specific goal, answer the six “W” questions:

*     Who. Who is involved?

*     What. What do I want to accomplish?

*     Where. Where is the location?

*     When. What is the timeframe?

*     Which. Which requirements and constraints do I need to consider?

*     Why. What are the specific reasons, purposes, or benefits of accomplishing the goal?

For example, a general goal would be getting to know the customers. A specific goal would say, “Within the first 60 days, schedule a customer meeting at our headquarters location with the top 10 revenue-producing customers.”

Measurable

Establish criteria for measuring progress toward attaining each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the achievement that motivates you to continue the effort required to reach your goal.

To determine whether your goal is measurable, ask questions such as how much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished? For example, meeting with the top 10 revenue-producing customers in 60 days is a measurable goal. Becoming 100 percent proficient on company-specific information systems in 30 days is a measurable goal.

Attainable

Attainable goals are achievable, acceptable, and action-oriented. As a strategy for your strategic action plan, focus on smaller attainable goals rather than larger, more audacious goals. For example, restructuring the department’s workflow is probably too large, but identifying and fixing one workflow bottleneck is not.

Also, be sure to make your goals active rather than passive. For example, reach out to customers as opposed to waiting for sales numbers to be reported.

Realistic

A realistic goal is one you are willing and able to work toward. The goal is probably realistic if you truly believe you can accomplish it. Also, you know your goal is realistic if you have accomplished something similar in the past; ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal. For example, if you have been able to implement a new training program or you participated in a training program that had a positive impact in a prior position, implementing that program in a new position may be a realistic goal.

Timely

A goal should be grounded within a timeframe to give it urgency and “trackability.” When you have a timeframe, it focuses the goal and makes progress measurable. As suggested earlier in this article, the recommended timeframes for strategic action goals are 30 days and 60 days. These timeframes will make your goals timely. For example, “In the first 30 days, I will meet with all the department heads that this position supports and identify their most critical needs.”

To see a list of 30/60 day goals broken down by professions go to www.interviewbest and develop an  iBest interview presentation


Here’s How to Interview Better- Hey Are You Listening?

May 23, 2012

A number of listening pitfalls will trip you up in your job interview. Don’t fall in these listening pitfalls:

  • Being so intent on what you have to say that you listen mainly to find an opening to make your point. You may be thinking that you have a very important point you want the interviewer to know, and if you don’t say it now, the opportunity will be lost. In reality, you won’t lose the opportunity, and this pitfall often results in an interruption[md]never a good thing during an interview.,
  •  Formulating and focusing on your answers quickly, based on what the speaker is saying. Candidates often are so concerned about giving the “right” answer that they get nervous and stop listening. They also have the misconception that they have to answer a question immediately after it is asked. It is perfectly acceptable to say, “Let me think about that,” and then take 30 to 40 seconds to formulate an answer. A thoughtful, considered answer is better than a quick, confused, or off-target response.
  • Focusing on your own personal beliefs about what you’re hearing. Your personal beliefs form a filter that may distort the interviewer’s meaning. It is important to be aware of how your beliefs distort what you hear and adjust for the distortion. You can do this by becoming consciously aware of your beliefs. For example, the interviewer might be talking about the importance of offshoring certain functions in their department. Perhaps you are opposed to sending jobs overseas. Your opposition may impact how you listen to the interviewer’s message. However, if you say to yourself, “This is an area of disagreement for me. I need to stay in active listening,” you will be able to focus on the message and not your internal resistance and judgment.
  • Evaluating and making judgments about the speaker or the message. While the interviewer is busy making subjective judgment about you, you are busy making subjective judgments about her. Judgments can distort how you hear things- both positively and negatively. If you have a positive impression of the interviewer, you might tend to believe what she is saying and not ask clarifying questions. If you judge the interviewer negatively, you might prematurely dismiss what she is saying and not listen fully. Be aware of your judgments, which can be as simple as whether you like or dislike the person, so that you don’t lose the message.
  • Not asking for clarification when you know you don’t understand. Many candidates think that asking for clarification is a signal to the interviewer that they don’t understand and that, as a result, they will appear stupid. A candidate of mine walked out of an interview sweating because the interviewer used an acronym he did not know, and he didn’t ask what it meant. Throughout the interview, the candidate was hoping he wouldn’t be caught; as a result, he was a nervous wreck and performed poorly. It turned out that the acronym was an obscure, little-known term that he couldn’t have known anyway. The interviewer was either impressed the candidate knew or guessed that he was covering up- probably the latter, since there was no job offer.
As it is in all sales situations, listening is the most important activity in a job interview. The more time you spend listening and understanding the job, the better you can match your background, skills and experience to the critical job requirements.

Interviewing? Know What Your Selling!

March 5, 2012

active interviewingWhat Are You Selling?

Most job seekers can easily classify their professional identity and what their services generally include- for example, they may be an IT project manager, a banquet chef, a state representative legislative aide, a stockbroker selling energy stocks, a brand manager for consumer packaged goods, or an accountant. However, most job seekers do not sufficiently define the full range of services they provide, including intangibles that make them successful at the job. In addition to high-quality services, in a competitive marketplace intangible success factors differentiate you from your competition.

Services, Features, and Benefits

In defining your services, think like a business. What is the full range of features and benefits you offer? One business might differentiate itself by promising outstanding customer service, or it might offer a highly specialized component of the service that other companies do not have. One business might offer the base service but have ancillary services that add value and tip the buying decision in its favor. For example, a veterinarian might provide excellent pet care but may also have a mobile van for house calls.

What is the full range of base and add-on services you provide? For example, one of my clients was applying for a position as a manufacturing-plant manager. The position to which he was applying did not include reading blueprints or managing construction in the job description; however, during his interview he spoke about how he learned to read blueprints and manage construction contractors after having been involved in building a plant. The interviewer told him, “That’s great! We’re not currently building, but we anticipate that within 18 months, we will be expanding our current plant or building a new plant.” My client was hired

As another example, a client was applying for a staff accounting position. During his interview, he spoke about having been involved in evaluating, selecting, and implementing an accounting system. The posted job requirements did not include selection and implementation of accounting systems; however, coincidently, the company was beginning to consider purchasing an accounting system. My client was hired.


An Expert Interview Secret; Sales Techniques Enhance Your Interviews

February 15, 2012

Active interviewing

Sell Yourself to Win Your Interview

There is an entire industry dedicated to teaching the science of selling. Google “sales training,” and you get literally millions of hits. Selling is a serious and well-researched discipline. Unfortunately, job interviews have not gotten the same level of research and training. Fortunately, many sales skills and techniques are applicable to job interviews.

The typical job candidate reads interview tips, many of which are standard, common suggestions. Using a sales approach opens a large inventory of strategies and techniques that elevate the interview. It gives you added dimensions and skill sets to prepare for your interview, manage the interview, and follow through after your interview.

Applying a Sales Process to an Interview Helps You Understand What Is Going On

The hiring process follows many of the same steps as a sales process. However, many companies have a haphazard hiring process that makes understanding the job-interview process confusing. Even companies with an organized process do not communicate well with their candidates. (It’s interesting how many of these companies include good communication skills in their job descriptions!) In the face of confusion and lack of communication, candidates spend a great deal of time guessing about what’s going on.

Using a sales model can help you understand the process and the stage of the hiring cycle. During the initial interview (typically a phone screening), it is important to ask about the selection process. Questions include:

     *     How many people are involved in the hiring decision?

     *     Who are the decision-makers?

     *     What is the general availability of the individuals involved in the selection process?

     *     Who are the influencers?

     *     How many rounds of interviews are there?

     *     What is the selection timeframe?

     *     How many people are being interviewed?

     *     Are there internal candidates?

     *     How urgent is it to fill the position?

     *     If this is a new position, is there a budget for it?

     *     Does hiring for this position depend on landing new business?

     *     Are there multiple positions being filled, and is there a more senior position that needs to be filled first?

     *     How will communication with candidates be maintained?

     *     How should candidates follow up, with whom, and when?

When you have these answers, you can gauge how far along the selection process is by comparing it to a sales process. Have they selected their final candidate (vendor) list or are they still accepting resumes and phone-screening candidates? Have they scheduled interviews with other candidates (vendors) yet? Have they been through a round of interviews but did not identify a suitable candidate (vendor)? Are there internal candidates (competitors) that may have a competitive advantage? What is the timeframe for making a hiring (purchasing) decision? As a candidate, you may not get answers to all these questions, but asking the questions is important and will position you as a knowledgeable, sophisticated, and motivated candidate.

While in the interview, use the stages of a sales call outlined above to understand the progress of the interview. Is the interview in the warming-up, fact-finding, sales-presentation, or closing stage? By identifying the stage, you can manage transitions or make sure you haven’t missed or shortchanged a stage. For example, if the interviewer is asking you questions about your experience and has not given you enough information about the job, you may want to revisit the fact-finding stage. Also, there may be a good opening in the interview to move to the sales-presentation phase, at which point you can introduce your interview presentation. Identifying and labeling the stage of the interview will help orient you and provide a sense of where to guide the interview next. Even though the interviewer is ostensibly in control, by using the sales stages, you can influence the pace and direction of the interview.

Active Interviewing

Go to http://www.activeinterviewing.com to learn how to sell in your interview


The Shocking Truth About Interviewers

December 15, 2011

Interviewers Are Poorly Trained and They’re Scared

Most hiring managers are poor interviewers. The vast majority of them receive no interview training, and they hire infrequently. Even hiring managers who have received training may not hire for months after interview training, and by then the training is forgotten.

One secret of job interviews is that hiring managers are often as nervous as the candidate- they’re stressed about having to make a critical hiring decision. A bad hiring decision is one of the biggest mistakes a manager can make. Studies have shown that a bad hire can cost a company anywhere from two times a person’s salary at lower employment levels to as much as 40 times a person’s salary at higher levels. The financial ramifications of a bad hire include costs for recruiting, training, lost productivity, bad morale, and the manager’s time spent trying to salvage the employee. At higher levels of employment, contract buyouts in the millions of dollars are not unusual. No wonder why the hiring manager is stressed when interviewing!

Many hiring managers compensate by spreading the decision-making around. They will have candidates go through multiple rounds of interviews with numerous interviewers. That way, if the employee does not work out, at least the hiring manager can say everyone was involved.

The problem with this approach is twofold. First, the other interviewers are typically no better at interviewing than the hiring manager is. Second, this burdens the candidate with numerous interviews conducted by poorly trained interviewers.

According to Development Dimensions International (DDI), candidates commonly complain about the following interviewer behavior:

*     Withholding information about the position

*     Turning the interview into a cross-examination

*     Showing up late

*     Appearing unprepared for the interview

*     Asking questions unrelated to job skills

And a recent survey of interviewers by Monster.co.uk found that:

*     Almost a third (30 percent) say they have forgotten a candidate’s name.

*     More than a quarter (28 percent) confess they have gone to interviews unprepared.

*     Almost one in five (19 percent) admit they have forgotten an interview entirely.

*     Fifty-four percent of employer respondents admit they have taken an instant dislike to a candidate.

Don’t let a bad interviewer torpedo your chances of getting the job! Win your interview by taking leadership and providing the information a bad interviewer should know about you to make a good hiring decision.

Active Interviewing

Go to http://www.activeinterviewing.com to learn how to beat bad interviewers and land the job


An Interview Presentation Is a Sales Presentation that Wins Jobs

July 7, 2011

Unlike a sales presentation, which can be for selling unlimited services or products, every interview presentation has the exact same goal: landing a job. Because the goal is well defined, similar to a resume an interview presentation has a defined format, and the content is sharply focused.

An interview attempts to answer three questions:

     *     Can you do the job?

     *     Are you motivated to do the job?

     *     Will you fit the culture of the company, and will they like you?

Using these three questions as the focus, the interview presentation includes all the information a hiring manager needs to answer these questions. Using a presentation, you will clearly communicate the information the hiring manager needs to know to make an informed hiring decision.

An effective interview presentation consists of a structure that frames the objective (presenting the reasons you are the best choice), covers all relevant material, transitions smoothly from topic to topic, and finishes strong. In addition, it should be well organized, short, focused, and relevant. A powerful interview presentation includes the following:

     *     A purpose. This is the one thing you want the interviewer to remember when you leave the interview. Typically, this is the same for any interview: “Based on my background, experience, skills, education, and personality traits, I am the best candidate for this position.” You introduce an interview presentation with this exact purpose: “I have a presentation that communicates how my background, skills, and experience match the critical requirements for this position and makes me an excellent candidate. May I share it with you?”

     *     Critical information. The critical information in an interview is how well you can perform the job. Performing well consists of doing the job tasks with high quality, fitting into the company culture, and getting along with others. To communicate your ability to do the job, there must be agreement about the job requirements. The first part of the presentation addresses the job requirements: “These are what I consider to be the critical job requirements for this position. I would like to discuss them with you to make sure we are in agreement about them.” This aligns your and the hiring manager’s expectations. When there is agreement about the requirements, the rest of the presentation focuses on your match to the requirements.

     *     Benefits. Every person listening to a presentation is thinking, “How does this affect me or benefit me?” If there is no effect or benefit, the person quickly loses interest. Each item mentioned in an interview presentation should link to a benefit for the hiring manager. For example, “You’re looking for a person with experience in new consumer product introduction. In my previous position, I introduced three mass consumer hardware products that accounted for $4.5 million in sales. As part of the introduction, I was responsible for consumer research, product development, marketing strategy, and sales. As you introduce new products, I’ll be able to provide expert leadership in each of these areas, which means that you will require fewer managers, save personnel costs, and bring products to market more quickly and successfully.”

A visual presentation (which makes an excellent leave-behind) with all of these elements and good, insightful questions make up the most powerful way to communicate in an interview. Candidates who have used interview presentations report dramatic results, and hiring managers are bowled over by their level of preparation, professionalism, and organization. And even without a written document, developing an interview presentation as part of the interview-preparation process is an excellent way to organize critical information that you can present when there is an opportunity in the interview.

iBest Presentation
Use an interview presentation to win your interview
101 Successful Interview Strategies

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