In the job search process we compare the job search to the work of the sales and marketing professional. This new and powerful model for job seekers may a bit unusual but it really works! In our model, your resume is part of your marketing packet, and the interviews are where you proceed through the 5 steps of the sales process to make the sale. In this article we take an in-depth look at the interview from the perspective of a professional salesperson. Granted, this approach will be uncomfortable for those of you who aren’t used to selling. You may not like this approach. You may not even choose to use this approach. However, I encourage you to take a serious look at it and see what you can learn from a pro about making this very important sale – YOURSELF.
There are many sales models out there, and professional sales people will argue over the effectiveness of their preferred choice.
However, they all boil down to a few simple steps that, when followed, will help turn a prospect into a buyer. The five steps I see most often are:
- Identify needs (or problems)
- Qualify buyers
- Present solutions
- Handle objections
- Close the sale
1) Identify Needs. The needs identification process begins before you write your resume. You want to have a clear understanding of what you have to offer and specific knowledge of who needs it. You want to make this step as precise as possible. Every good salesperson will tell you that knowing your target audience is key to making the sale. You don’t want to waste your time (or theirs) talking to people who don’t need your product or services. When you identify the needs or problems of your prospective employer you can prepare your interview questions and answers to demonstrate why you are the perfect candidate.
2) Qualify Buyers. If you are selling cars, it is vitally important to know if you are talking to someone who is a serious buyer or just a “tire kicker.” Likewise, in the job interview, you want to determine as quickly as possible if the person with whom you are meeting has the ability to make the hiring decision or if they are just trying to make a list to send up the food chain. There are different tactics for each of these situations, and all of them equates to “making the sale.” However, the “sale” in each instance may be different. In the interview process, “making the sale” equates to getting a job offer when you are meeting with someone who has hiring authority. In all other cases “making the sale” means “getting the next interview.”
In part 2, we will cover the remaining aspects of nailing a job interview process. Stay tuned!