The most common statement to get any interview started begins with 4 magical words. “Tell me about yourself.” Within 10 seconds, studies show most interviewers have already decided how they feel about you. Then, they spend the whole interview either confirming the belief that you’re a good fit for the job or verifying the belief that you’re a bad fit. Instead of regurgitating your resume back to them during this critical time, come swinging with brags, borrows and steals that will help you land the job.
Be humble of course, but a little bragging can go along way. Before your first interview with a new company, you need to be as prepared for the interview as possible. Once you’ve done your research on the company, prepare a few key highlights to brag about that are in line with the company’s needs. What does the company want to hear? Your measurable successes in the form of rankings, revenues and reviews.
- Rankings: Have any data or reports ready on where you rank amongst your peers.
- Revenue: Prove you contribute to revenue growth in quarterly form.
- Reviews: This can be props from managers showing you’re a team player or rave reviews about how you supported a project through a long cycle.
- Relationships: Show them you’re not a self absorbed candidate, but in it for the success of the entire company. Sales is all about networking. Describe the approach you have with building an internal team that transformed into a win for the company.
Nope, not asking you to lie. Borrow key points from the job responsibilities section and shape your answers to show you can sell in any industry. Take the first couple of words. Most job descriptions list the requirements. Instead of waiting for the interviewer to ask this question, when describing your previous job history, use the same terminology they used to frame your sentences. The interviewer will be impressed you were able to provide a lot of the basic screening information, allowing them to spend less time asking you mundane questions and more time for you to build a relationship.
Bonus points if the interviewer wrote the job description because who doesn’t like hearing their words parroted back to them in an intelligible way?
Steal the job away from other candidates by standing out from your competition. A few creative ways to do this:
- Create a business plan for the job instead of a repetitive cover letter.
- Invest in a basic website that visually shows some of your accomplishments. Include the link in your resume.
- Like sales, you want to speak to the decision maker. Try to find someone within the company who can put you on the interview fast track.
- You don’t wait for the recruiter to call you back. You follow up by calling them.
Lastly, if you don’t get another interview or the job, ask why. If you really like the company, invested time in going through the interview process, and they would consider you in the future, it may not be a hard no; it may be a not right now. Set a follow up call in the future to keep them on your radar.