How to Sell Yourself on Interviews, Part One

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					RESUME MAVEN                                                                                       1. 800.973.1177

How to Sell Yourself on Interviews, Part One
[By Elinor Stutz]
Your resume was posted among thousands of competing resumes, and to your surprise, you were chosen for an in-person interview. Congratulations! But
wait...what are those voices in your head saying? Are you really going to be able to compete against the top candidates?

The interview process begins with your             Statistics show that people buy based 7%            thinking about what you may bring to
mindset. You must believe you can succeed          upon what you say, 35% upon how you say it,         the table, what you have in common, and
in order to succeed. In my experience, it isn’t    and 58% upon how you look. Understand that          how you may offer improvement to the
necessarily the best and the brightest who         you are selling yourself when you interview;        company’s services; also, note messaging
are chosen for employment but, rather, the         undoubtedly, the same statistics apply when         that specifically catches your attention.
“best fit” for the organization. The questions     it comes to getting hired.                          These topics will be your talking points
become “How can I appear credible in                                                                   during the interview.
portraying I am the best fit?” and “How can I      You must concentrate on building
work on believing I will get the job?”             relationships with the people who interview         While still reading the website, also note if
                                                   you. Here are three tips for doing just that:       there is a company mission statement, the
The first step is to review your past                                                                  officers and where they went to school, if
accomplishments. What made you different               .   Throw the script away. Be prepared         the company is publicly traded, and, if the
from your counterparts? Which unique                        to listen, ask questions, clarify, and     company is publicly traded, where its stock
skills do you possess that will allow                       answer coherently.                         is trading. You may have the same alma
you to succeed in your work? Once you                                                                  mater as the CEO—let it be known. Everyone
realize how you are different, be able to              .   Begin every communication                  shares the dream of one day getting rich. So
put the message into one or two succinct                    (voice, voice mail, email, mail,           whether the stock is up or down, it is also
sentences. Run your message by your                         appointments) from the other               a very good talking point toward the end of
friends, family, or associates and ask them                 person’s point of view.                    the conversation.
how it sounds. When your message is in its
final form and you have practiced saying it            3.   Follow up. 95% of people fall down         Webpages are built upon keywords, and
with conviction, you will begin believing in                on the follow-up.                          these relay what is of most importance to
your stated strengths.                                                                                 the company. So if you detect a repetitive
                                                   Referrals are the best method for                   vocabulary, you will know this is the subject
In addition to developing a short message          securing interviews and, ultimately, jobs.          matter on which you should focus. For
playing up your strengths, in case you are         Prescreening has already taken place by             example, years ago, I represented a Fortune
asked, you will want to create a short (two-       word of the referring party. When you are the       00 company and was calling on a credit
minute) explanation in story form of how           beneficiary of a referral, ask the referring        union. Every page of its website spoke of
you use(d) your strengths to accomplish            party to share as much as possible about the        “financial soundness.” I asked my contact
solutions for your manager, client, etc.           recommended person who is to interview              if my Fortune 00 company held enough
Learn to become a friendly storyteller when        you. Find out as much as you can about              financial soundness to warrant doing
describing your accomplishments.                   the person behind the title as well as the          business. My contact laughed and said, “Of
                                                   corporate person and the company.                   course.” She then added, “I have no idea
People buy from people they like. The                                                                  how you know that is of great importance
storytelling will make you far more likeable       Next, you will need to research the company         to us.” The detective work pursued upfront
as long as it is appropriate and concise.          website thoroughly. Read the pages while            furthered the process.

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RESUME MAVEN                                                                                   1. 800.973.1177

The next step is to read who the company’s       hard to get your point across, engage in          Remember, once you set foot on a company’s
clients are, what they say about the             one-upmanship, or listen to understand            premises, there are no totem poles for
company, and how their problems were             others’ points of view. On interviews, it is      decision making. By treating everyone
solved. Perform an Internet search on the        mandatory to listen more than you speak and       equally, you will be putting your best foot
company’s competitors and on the industry.       to ask enough questions—both open-ended           forward in every instance.
In general, consider what all of these           and specific—to determine if, in fact, you will
companies have in common in terms of their       enjoy working at the company.                     Medium- to large-sized companies will
mission statements, clients, services, and                                                         display their awards, laudatory letters from
challenges. Newcomers to sales or in new         “Dress for success” has been a long-time          clients, and their financial information. By
companies will use this vertical marketing       motto. The rule of thumb is to dress a            quickly reviewing these materials, you will
strategy to quickly become experts in one        notch or two above the company policy. So         get a sense of the company and have more
industry in order to jumpstart their sales       if employees are known to wear jeans, the         talking points for your interview.
activity. Then they expand to other industries   suggestion is to wear nice slacks; if they
once confidence has been built.                  wear high-end sportswear, then consider a         One time, I discovered an intended company
                                                 sporty suit. Dress includes a leather binder      had won the Baldridge Award. The company’s
Let’s frame this concept in terms of securing    and a good-looking pen for taking notes.          winning of this award was the basis of my
a new job. If you have a very important                                                            opening remark upon meeting my client.
interview and high income at stake, you          When you have the name of the party who is        It turned out to be my lucky day; she was
will do well to practice interviewing with       to interview you, try conducting an Internet      the one responsible for getting the entire
the company’s main competitor. Ask for           search for the person’s name. You might           corporation on the same page to qualify for
an informational interview. Learn who the        find names of associations to which the           the prestigious award.
competitor’s clients are, in which areas the     person belongs and hobbies in which he or
competing company excels, and what its           she participates. These are icebreakers for       Suppose the person with whom you are to
challenges are. Two things will happen when      conversation.                                     interview is running late. Don’t just stare into
you do this:                                                                                       space. Instead, begin reading an interesting
                                                 It is a very good idea to arrive at your          magazine lying nearby. For instance, if you are
    .   You may unexpectedly develop a          appointment 0 minutes early to “play             meeting with a CFO and there happens to be
         second job possibility.                 detective.” Do not arrive more than 0            a CFO magazine on a table near you, pick it
                                                 minutes early, or people will think you have      up and read it. This magazine will tell you the
    .   You will become highly informed         nothing better to do with your time. Upon         challenges people in this position face on a
         about the industry and will give a      arriving, greet the receptionist with a big       daily basis. Upon my doing just this, a CFO with
         superior interview at the original      smile. Introduce yourself and ask his or her      whom I was to meet greeted me with a huge
         company of interest.                    name. Make note of his or her name on your        smile. Our appointment went extremely well.
                                                 notepad so that you may address that person
Becoming knowledgeable about the intended        correctly in the future and thank him or her      If you are interviewing at a smaller company,
company’s industry and having a succinct         for helping you.                                  scan the posters hanging on the wall.
message as to why you are different will                                                           Many such posters have captions such as
contribute to increased confidence on your       If the receptionist appears to have a few         “teamwork” or “goal setting.” These captions
interview. Practice speaking in front of a       minutes, ask how s/he likes working at the        are perfect starting points for small talk
mirror. Observe whether you are smiling as       company. Perhaps s/he can shed some light         when you first greet your contact.
you speak. Smiling makes you more likeable.      on the process and the benefits. Most people
Watch your body language. Do you look very       do not realize that in smaller companies,         When someone escorts you down the hallway
stiff and unapproachable, or do you appear       the receptionist, at times, is actually the       to your contact’s office, ask that person how
open and friendly? Do you use exaggerated        CEO or the CEO’s spouse because the real          s/he likes working at the company, what his
gestures, none at all, or gestures simply to     receptionist is out ill. People routinely treat   or her duties are, and if s/he can lend any
emphasize the point you are trying to make?      the receptionist rudely, thus diminishing         insight. Be gracious by thanking everyone
                                                 their chances for success.                        who shares information and/or helps you
The next time you are out with friends or                                                          along the way.
colleagues, determine whether you try too

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RESUME MAVEN                                                                              1. 800.973.1177

Upon entering the contact’s office, find          listen carefully, and ask for permission to    Ms. Stutz has been a guest on many radio
something nice to say. The office or cubicle      take notes. You cannot sell yourself as the    shows. Her book, Nice Girls, was highlighted
is his or her home away from home. It is          best person for the job until you know why     in the November 6, 006, TIME magazine
rude to say nothing. If the cubicle is dreary,    you are sitting in the chair!                  business supplement, and she mentors
look for pictures of family, a pet, hobbies, or                                                  entrepreneurs at The Learning Café. For
travel—and state something nice about what        To be continued...                             more information, call 800-704-499 or visit
you see. It puts the conversation on a friendly                                         Smooth Sale delivers
note. Show proper respect for the person          About the Author:                              original work in the forms of professional
interviewing you by thanking him or her for                                                      sales training, licensing of programs,
taking the time to meet with you when you         Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale and           speaking engagements, and the Smooth
first greet each other. This will be greatly      author, has transformed her highly             Sale Tips e-zine. Smooth Sale also offers
appreciated and will serve to put you on a        successful sales career into a career          the following resources: Nice Girls DO Get
better path.                                      training entrepreneurs, network marketers,     the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets
                                                  and beginning salespeople. Her company         Results, published by Sourcebooks; The
Once you are about to begin the business          states, “We help you turn stormy sales         Smooth Sale Toolkit; the Smooth Selling
portion of your conversation, convey that         cycles into a Smooth Sale.” Community          four-CD training seminar; and How to
you are aware the interviewer must have           service is of great importance to Ms. Stutz.   GROW Your Business: The Entrepreneur’s
received so many resumes and that you             Periodically, she counsels job seekers on      Handbook—Mindset, Strategy, and
are curious as to why he or she picked you        how to gain employment. Several people         Implementation.
to interview. This is a surefire method for       have written to say that her tips helped
beginning an excellent interview. Be quiet,       them to secure job offers.


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Description: The interview process begins with your mindset. You must believe you can succeed in order to succeed. In my experience, it isn't necessarily the best and the brightest who are chosen for employment but, rather, the "best fit" for the organization.
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