Ok, I came across this video during my weekly research binge on recruitment. I seriously had to watch it 5 times, one right after the other as I was busting my gut with tears running down my face thinking “Nice Job Kid – double fist pump in the air”. So it is a must watch – check it out because the rest of this blog is based on this video…”Closing the Interview

What are you going to do to close your interviews? How far are you willing to go? Perhaps not as far and buddy on the video (nice marketing job Pepsi!) that you plot an entire master plan to scare away the rest of the hopeful candidates awaiting their turn. The question still remains, then how far do you go? My answer – as far as it takes (within legal limits – wink wink). Take a good look at the video – all the candidates look the same. No one stands out. From first impression you need to standout the second you’re in within eye sight. Yes, that might mean it’s time to get a new suit and re-tire that lucky 2 year old blue suit… and by the way when was the last time you got your hair cut n’ styled? You are your brand – how are you going to sell it? Bed-head is not as trendy as some desperately want it to be.

Now a flash back to the good’ol school days. How prepared are you for the interview? At all costs, do not answer the question “What do you know about our organization?” with “I’m not sure, I was hoping you would tell me more at this interview.” ACK! Yes, I have heard that response more than I care to admit. Approach an interview opportunity as a major paper due for your economics class. And if you didn’t take economics in school, too bad – figure it out.

Get detailed. That’s right – even minor detail counts. I had a President refuse to consider a candidate when he noticed the candidate was wearing “white socks” with a dark suit. That was it – interview killed – candidate’s opportunity to score the job – failed. How is that for a minor detail? But this is the coffee that is brewing in today’s recruitment world. You must learn to make your “mug” attract the right attention or your “mug” will be passed up and simply put – “No Coffee for You”.

What do you recommend candidates do to close the interview? That is without a really cool Pepsi commercial in their back pocket (wink wink).

Views: 69

Comment by Marissa Marsala on September 26, 2010 at 5:12pm
From my perspective, there are a number of things you can do to set yourself apart from others, and increase your changes of getting the job.

1) As discussed, prepare yourself for the interview.
a) Research the employer's website and familiarize yourself with their products and services. Also read their recent press releases and others new updates. If possible, review their financial reports (or ask others for help) to interpret the financial health of the company. Whenever appropriate, weave into the interview questions that relate to the research you did. This will demonstrate genuine interest as well as make a positive impression on the interviewer that you've done your homework. All things being equal with you and other candidates, it just may be what sets you apart and lands you the job.
b) If the company dos not have a website or information is limited, do a search in your favorite browser bar for "Company name goes here" and "SIC code. An SIC code will give information about this specific company within their industry classification, and sometimes will address who their competitors are or otherwise will connect you to other information about that company.
c) Go to the Library and use the Library's subscription to "ReferenceUSA," an online database of corporations in the US.

2. Bring visual aids!!! Most of us process (and remember!) information that is presented visually. It is always best to show and tell about yourself for the following reasons:
a) You clearly come across as prepared, professional and "buttoned down"
b) You can tell stories about your visual aids that demonstrate your unique work or management style
c) If you tend to be nervous, having something to point to focus attention away from you and on to something that the interviewer can evaluate as they listen to you.
d) Bringing in something visual provides two inputs of information (seeing and hearing about your skills) making the interviewer more likely to remember your unique skills. If the interviewer actually asks to see something, that' a tactile input, so now they are touching something that you've done, which again, reinforces the likelihood that they will remember your strengths more clearly.
e) When it comes time for the interviewer to evaluate your skills against other prospects, they will KNOW that you're capable of doing the job because you've shown them proof that you've already done the job elsewhere. This is very powerful! It can also dramatically shorten the reference-checking process as the interviewer will have seen first-hand the quality for your work.

Note: Be sure to block/black out any proprietary information on writing samples or other reports being shown as you need to preserve the confidentiality of information from former employers.

3) Ask thoughtful questions. In addition to the questions you might come up with as a result of 1. above, ask relevant questions about the company and/or departments most important goals for the next year and what challenges they are facing in meeting these goals. Tie them to what skills you bring to the table to help them meet those challenges.

4) Ask if there are any questions that you can answer relative to your skills that have not been addressed, but are important requirements of the job. I usually ask, “Given the requirements of the job, how do you see my background and experience stacking up?” Admittedly, it’s a bit bold, but often, you may learn that there is a perception that you’re missing something that can easily be addressed on the spot, better positioning you to get the job.

5) Ask what the timeframe is and what the next steps are in their process. This may give you a sense of how strong a candidate you may be at that point in time.

6) Always reiterate your sincere interest and excitement about the opportunity, and recap the strengths that you believe you offer for the position, and be sure to indicate that you look forward to hearing from them about your candidacy.

7) Follow up with a thoughtful thank you message by email or a handwritten note with a thoughtful email stating what you heard was important to them in the interview and reiterating your strengths relative to what they viewed as the most important aspects of the jobs.

Hope that helps!
Comment by Lisa Switzer on October 6, 2010 at 6:26pm
Marissa, your suggestions are bang on! Whenever I meet with a client I am coaching on interview skills one of the questions I ask them (that 99% of them hate) is "What makes you like everyone else?". What's the point of that question you ask? Or even better why does this question piss them off?

Well, first of no one like to think of themselves as "like everyone else" but guess what when scanning endless resumes with people selling the same skill sets and brand ...you are like everyone else. Not to mention it is also the time that my clients realize that what they use as their "unique" qualifiers why they perceive they stand out and should be the candidate hired - yes well, that was the same speech the other 3 candidates also used. Ouch! See the key is once you identify what makes you the same (i.e. degree, certain years of experience etc.) THEN you can start to really dig deep and truly locate/uncover you're "unique" qualifiers.


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