Think of the last time you were looking for a job, or being interviewed for a position you really wanted. What did you do to present yourself most positively and get selected over those competing for the role?
- Did your homework, researching the company and the people you would be speaking to.
- Talked to other people in the company or who had worked for the company to get insight about the company, expectations, how they worked, what their challenges are.
- You’ve taken time to understand the job description, matching your capabilities to their needs, requirements, priorities.
- Prepared for the interviews, thinking about questions you might ask, issues you might explore. You probably prepared for questions they might ask you.
- You probably lined up relevant references, knowing they are likely to look at those.
- You probably thought about the relevant experiences you had and how you might present them to demonstrate your ability to create value in the role.
- You did everything you could to anticipate what might arise in the interviewing process, to be prepared, and to present yourself in the most professional manner possible.
And as you went through the interview process, you probably took the time to ask a lot of questions, to build relationships, to listen, to engage in meaningful conversations. You probably didn’t walk in taking over and blindly pitching how great you were, how you are much better than the alternatives, or that they could hire you more cheaply than the others they were considering. And if they tried to ask for a discounted price, you probably tried to convince them you were worth much more.
After all, you were “selling” the most important product you could ever sell–yourself–to the most important customer you could sell to, a hiring manager looking to fill a job you really wanted.
You probably left nothing to chance. You were prepared, you engaged, you listened, you may have challenged them to think differently. And you thanked them for their time and the opportunity to meet.
You probably followed up immediately, perhaps sending a thank you note, asking if they had any other questions, understanding where they were in their decision-making process.
Over my career, I’ve been involved in interviewing, perhaps, 1000’s of people in roles from entry level positions, front line management, executive management, CEO and Board positions. The best candidates are always extremely well prepared, engaged, interested and interesting.
Then I look at how we sell.
Why don’t we do the same things when we are selling our company’s products a solutions?
Why do we wing it? Why do we limit our discovery to questions that enable us to go into pitch mode? Why do we lead with price?
Why do we not present ourselves, our solutions, our companies; engaging our customers as professionally as possible?
When we compete for that job we covet at a company we long to work for, we are prepared, we engage, and we are the most professional we can be. Afterall, we want them to hire us?
Our customers are “hiring” our solutions and companies to help solve their problems. Why wouldn’t we conduct ourselves in just as professional a manner?
Afterword: Thanks to my friend, Charlie Green for provoking this post.