By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter
Careerist, are you fearful that in the current market you must sacrifice financial rewards (salary) to land a job? I think in many cases this fear that you are competing with lower salary competitors and thus must lower your salary bar can be quashed, with proper tools and preparation, as well as a confident mindset!
You must bear in mind that you are selling yourself as a product — You, Inc. — and the interviewer is your buyer.
If you have been selected for an interview, your current job is not only to convince the interviewers that you are smart and have a series of impressive accomplishments. Your job as the retailer of your value, also is to distinguish yourself from what appears to be a similarly qualified, but less ‘expensive’ candidate (seller) who may purport a track record that seems equally impressive and compelling.
YOU MUST QUELL YOUR BUYER’S CONCERNS
A hiring decision maker wants to be convinced that he’s not making a mistake in hiring YOU over (what he perceives as) another, similarly strategic, and perhaps less ‘costly’ candidate.
PROVE to them, through your value-rich career portfolio and through your concurrent conversations that YOU offer a return-on-investment that is untouchable by your competitors. Provide distinctive, tangible responses to their objections and concerns that you are their one, and only solution, an investment they should be afraid to pass up — that your record will provide a return that is double, triple, even quadruple their investment (i.e., your salary). Prove that it would actually be MORE costly to hire the candidate who appears, on the surface, to be a better price.
As a small business owner who believes her business stands apart from many in the throng of other resume and career writing strategists, I invest daily in introspection and marketing communications that differentiate my value.
This week my investment fees were tested when a prospective client squarely inquired what distinguished me from some of the other career strategists claiming similar services, processes and results. Because he had researched behind the curtain to read my pithy, content- and story-driven website, this prospect was on the precipice of hiring me. He had tapped into the nuances of my unique value, including subtle messages that pulled my message to the fore.
Now, he wanted final affirmation, from interviewing me. Doing my due diligence meant that, a day or two prior to our meeting, I ferreted out three links to blog posts and a value proposition page at my website that underscored why I offered deeper, pithier and value-driven processes and outcomes than did the lower-investment services — that there was virtually no way another writing strategist would deliver what I could at one-half the investment fee.
The day of the call, I was focused, attentive to his questions and crisply, yet passionately responsive. I landed the job!
CLOSE THE SALE
You can close the sale (i.e., land the job), too! While exceptions abound, and even with the most perfect pitch you will lose some job interview sales (I do!), you will increase your odds of landing that next gig while commanding the salary investment you deserve. You can do this by:
1. Being prepared with meaty, value-rich stories that center on your target audience’s needs (resume, cover letter, biography, LinkedIn profile, other social profiles and beyond).
2. Marketing yourself continuously; don’t wait until the formal interview to start selling yourself. Your online presence is organic; feed it through LinkedIn status updates and group participation, professional and muscular tweets, Facebook posts and/or career-related blog posts that demonstrate your career and personal vitality.
3. Revving up prior to an interview, having that spring in your step, and vigor in your voice when entering into that interview conversation.
4. Following up to interviews with specific responses to the interviewer’s (buyer’s) potential concerns. Reinforce with links to or snippets of particular content you’ve written that dispel their worries.
5. Being confident. You believe in your value. If you don’t believe in yourself, they won’t. Keep at arms length the negative nellies who may be sapping your energy and your hope. Surround yourself with encouragers and supporters who reinforce your worth.
Final note: Most successful, high performing professionals and executives are immersed in their careers and their industry and offer a rich repertoire of experience and record of results. Be unabashed about presenting this deeper story to your potential buyers (hiring decision makers, recruiters, human resource professionals, etc.). Feed it to them in slices and bites–this underscores the extreme importance of maintaining a current, vital career portfolio of stories and sound bites.
Interviewers are being bombarded by a plethora of slick ‘ads’ from less qualified candidates. Your job is to cut through the confusion, to connect the dots for them, and then refine those connections a bit more … and a bit more. Selling yourself into a position is a continuous process.
This process should not be isolated ONLY for the in-person interview conversation–you must be selling before, during and AFTER the interview engagement to reinforce and extend upon your message, closing the deal.
By forging a strong connection with your buyer, you will assuage any fears they may have about making the wrong decision and compel them to invest in your career gold!