Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What’s the worst thing you can do in a job interview? Rely on Your Résumé

Last week I was on a radio show on KLOO-AM in Eugene Oregon. I was there to talk about my new book, and we got into an interesting real life practical application where I was able to show some of the concepts in the book at work.

My host Bill Lundun told me of a situation where a new sports store was looking to hire 80 people from a group of around 1400 applicants.

He asked a great question: "what is the worst thing these applicants could do in the job interview?"

My answer? Simple. The worst thing they can do is to rely on their résumés.

I can’t begin to express how strongly I feel about this -- it’s so important to be able to stand out from the crowd, and you’re just not going to achieve that by sliding your résumé across the table.

So looking at this particular case study, how would someone stand out in a crowd of 1400 applicants? One word. Infomercial.

My concept of a personal infomercial™ allows you to cut through the crap and show yourself for who you really are, so that it’s crystal clear to an employer whether or not you’re a good fit. And you’ve equipped the interviewer with a short, effective speech for her to tell her boss why they should hire you.

I’ve helped many clients craft successful infomercials for high-level corporate positions, but the great thing is my approach is effective no matter where you’re applying for a job.

Let’s say one of the 1400 applicants for this sports store job is Sarah Jones. Sarah has done her homework. She has read the company site and annual report thoroughly; she is familiar with its core values; she has found and read as much press coverage as possible; she’s called her network to find employees, customers, suppliers – anyone who’s had contact with the company to see what they can tell her about it.

Sarah knows she is good at dealing with the general public, and that she is energized by contact with people. She has a great customer service personality. She has a strong knowledge of sports and sports equipment built up over a number of years playing a number of sports at various levels. She loves to work in a sports-oriented environment with other people who are obsessed by sports.

Sarah knows that she has found her fit, a target rich environment™. This is half the battle. But knowing that herself is not enough. The next step is for her to gather that information into a well-crafted personal infomercial that communicates exactly who she is and why she is perfect for this particular sports company.

If Sarah goes in and communicates her infomercial to the interviewer effectively, she’s going to have a huge advantage over most of the other applicants. She shouldn’t wait for the interviewer to ask her questions to draw these things out -- it’s her job to show her why she is what the company needs and wants.

So whether you’re applying for a top executive position or a job in a sports store, don’t leave it to chance. Have your infomercial ready and present it quickly and early … And let me know how you got on!

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