Interviewing can be a vulnerable and intimidating process. My advice: don’t take the disappointments personally. When you really look at it, a good interview is like a convincing sales pitch, but in this case, you are pitching yourself! The most successful interviewers own their conversations and run the process like fearless salespeople.
Follow these simple steps throughout your interview process, and you will land your dream offer in no time.
1. Be Persistent
A sale is rarely closed on the first call. Make a list of desired companies and jobs, and reach out to the appropriate contact several times before giving up! Think outside of the online “box”. Use your network to get warm introductions to decision makers. Hiring managers are busy, so be creative, reach out, and follow up more than once.
2. Keep Your Pipeline Full
Any good salesperson knows a full pipeline increases your chances of hitting quota. The same goes for interviews. Don’t assume that you will land the job until it has been offered. Keep an open mind and continue to interview until you have a job offer from a company you want. Don’t disqualify an opportunity too soon! It’s okay to be discerning, but don’t throw away an opportunity after a 5 minute Google search. If an interesting company is hiring, do what you can to get your resume in the mix and have that first interview.
3. Set the Meeting
Asking about next steps at the end of the interview is critical. Don’t get off of the phone or leave the room without setting up a second (or third) meeting. And if you are in a final interview, step up to the plate and ask for the job!
4. Be Direct
Have a clear idea of what you are looking for and how to best articulate your experience. Know your personal pitch and be concise and direct when discussing your background and your career goals. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions and negotiate your offer. Once a company has accepted your sales pitch (i.e. decided that they want you on board), be direct about what you want in your role.
5. Follow Up
A strong, well-written thank you email sent within 24 hours will go a long way. Personalize your messages as much as you can by adding comments and takeaways form your conversations. Be sure to send an email to everyone you’ve met with. If you don’t hear back, continue to be persistent (see #1) and follow up again!
The key to hitting a home run interview is to treat it like the sales pitch of a lifetime. If you follow these tips with the confidence and persistence of a top sales maverick, you’ll find that those “intimidating” interviews are really just steps away from the offer of a lifetime.