An interview is an investment pitch – one where you’re asking a prospective employer to buy into who you are and what you can do.
While there are clearly many differences between an investment pitch and an interview, here are three essential steps you need to take to gain an edge over your competitors:
#1 Research and Analyze Your Audience
This should be taken as a given, but I’ll say it anyway – a good speaker always takes the time to learn about his/her target audience before presenting to them and candidates for jobs should do the same.
Be thorough in this, as it’s difficult to connect with people if you don’t understand where they are coming from or what they are likely to expect.
In the same vein as professional speakers will commonly create ‘questions lists’ for event planners, so they can properly prepare for speaking engagement – create your own list of background information you would like to get before any interview.
While you’ll often be able to answer these via company information you may be sent or online sources, consider getting in touch with the company in question if there are gaps you can easily address before meeting an interviewer.
Of course you will clearly have the advantage of being able to ask more questions of a prospective employer than a typical presenter does of an audience. But don’t rely on this as your primary source of information – you will come over as ill-prepared and unprofessional.
#2 Answer the ‘Why Me’ Question
As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, investors will often place as much or more reliance on their assessment of the promoters of the business as they do on the ideas they are asked to invest in.
And one of the first things seasoned investors will assess in determining this is whether they ‘get’ the ideas being presented – are they clear, simple, engaging and credible?
One of the best ways to get attention from investors is to create a compelling elevator pitch – which encapsulates what you are proposing and why it matters in just a few words.
When preparing for any interview, create an elevator pitch for the ‘brand of you’. Remember, you may need different pitches for different audiences and every elevator pitch needs to be short. A sentence is plenty.
And as you create this, ask yourself one question – if there was one thing I want this interviewer to remember about me after this interview, what would it be?
Try to focus on outcomes or how things could be once you’ve been hired – as this will speak to solutions the employer is likely to be looking for and will make you more memorable.
#3 Sell the Sizzle
Speaking of memorable – If you want an audience to believe that you can do what you say, find ways to demonstrate your capabilities instead of focusing on what you are thinking you might or could do.
It’s much easier to invest in someone with proven capabilities than to rely on what someone ‘may’ be able to do.
In essence, showing what you can do makes you a less risky prospect. And that makes you eminently more ‘hirable’.
Over to You. Please share your thoughts.
What’s the best elevator pitch you’ve ever heard in an interview? What did you learn from this?