Make it a Sales Call to Interview Your Best

When working for one of the big three multinational outplacement firms, I was trained to avoid referring to an interview as a “sales” call. Their belief was that people are intimidated by having to sell or being a sales person and thinking of the interview as a sales call would make the interview even more stressful. We taught an interview is a unique situation unlike selling, or presenting, or persuading, or convincing, or any of the other activities that make up a sales call.

Now being on my own, I can firmly state - an interview is a sales call; a consultative sales call. This is actually good news because a consultative sales call has a well defined and highly tested structure that works.

When most people think about sales, they think of selling a product like a vacuum cleaner, a TV, or a car. This is a “transaction” sale where most of the focus is on the product’s features and various slick sales techniques may be used to “close the sale”. Another type of sale is a consultative sale where the sales person takes time to understand the buyers needs and then links their product’s or service’s benefits to the buyer’s needs. This approach requires a deep understanding of the buyer’s needs, their requirements and how the product or service can contribute to the buyer’s goals.

In an interview the sales person (job candidate)is selling themselves(the service)to the hiring manager(the buyer). In order to be successful in the sales call (interview),the candidate has to:
* Do their research to understand the needs of the buyer, both at the organizational and personal level
*Spend time in the interview getting a deeper understanding of the Hiring Manager’s specific needs
*Know their own unique selling points and their value add proposition
*Present their benefits clearly and powerfully linking their benefits to the Hiring Manager’s needs
* Handle objections
* Follow-up on the sales call

This consultative structure provides excellent direction for interview preparation, interviewing and follow-up. All the pieces are here to make a powerful consultative sales call, and win the job.