A job interview is about selling the services of a micro-business. All the art and science of selling applies.

Job interviews are no different to any other professional services sales pitch save that, as a micro-business, you are looking for soft benefits as well as cash. The aggregated learning around the art and science of good quality selling applies. There are hundreds of books on the subject. I believe these can be reduced to seven steps in an interview, provided you feel that the interviewer has the emotional intelligence to operate on an honest “adult-adult” basis. Otherwise, you may need to moderate the following approach:

– surface “the need”, very accurately
– demonstrate, rather than assert, your ability to meet the need
– ask where you tick the boxes and, precisely, where you don’t, especially if this is about “chemistry”
– address any negatives head-on; they are looking for reassurance, not perfection. Nobody is perfect, not even the interviewer
– ask for explicit feedback on where you compare unfavourably against the competition; offer specific reassurances on these. Ground their fears and address them candidly. This coud be the deal breaker for you
– don’t forget to ASK for the job, as in a sale. This may feel uncomfortable
– above all, leave the interview knowing as much as possible about where you stand. If the outcome is a surprise you haven’t sold properly. They either need you or they don’t. Either way the outcome must be a win-win for both parties.

Ciaran Fenton
Fenton & Co LLP

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