Posts Tagged 'Interviewing'

Challenger Sale meets Challenger Interview

My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying.

– Rodney Dangerfield


Finding your next job is not about luck.  It will require you to get out of your comfort zone and embrace selling techniques. Competition is stiff,   hiring processes are changing, unemployment remains high.   What can a job seeker do to increase their chances of success?


What if you could understand and apply the basic principles of the most successful sales people in the world?

Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson, and their colleagues at Corporate Executive Board interviewed over 6000 top performing salespeople at a who’s who of leading corporations. They studied their techniques and remarkably found a common theme in their approach.  They then aggregated these findings into a book called The Challenger Sale.  The highly acclaimed book suggests that when it comes to selling complex, large-scale business-to-business solutions, there is a simple 1, 2, 3 steps that lead to superior results. It can be summed up simply as teach, tailor and take control. The best salespeople execute this without their prospect feeling like they just experienced a sales call.  The prospect felt, like the salesperson showed expertise and shared as well as educated the prospect.  The dialogue did not feel canned, but rather customized to the prospects business situation. The meeting probably also did not follow the prescriptive path the prospect originally felt it should, would or could.


Can this work in job interviewing?  Absolutely!


What if you entered your next interview with the following blueprint and executed it in a seemingly crisp, yet casual exchange?

1)      Teach – You begin by offering some macro trend data having to do with your prospect companies industry or something unique to the hiring department. As an example, if interviewing for a job in Human resources, you could share a statistic about HR outsourcing and/or some of the latest software automation trends.

2)      Tailor – Now tie the conversation back to explicit needs of the company or hiring manager.  You can do this by studying CEO statements in press releases, listening to recruiters describe the job goals or great discovery questions.  However, you should do pre-work.  You want this research completed prior to the interview.  This will allow you to customize your dialogue to be truly relevant to the hiring manager.

3)      Take Control – This may be the hardest part to execute. However, if you are properly prepared with meaningful insights that allow you to teach and tailor, taking control will happen naturally.

Imagine if you can begin the interview by taking out an article (preferably from a prominent media source) you recently read and tying it back to the job description, CEO’s strategy statement and the business challenge as outlined by the recruiter. With this simple technique, you have taught, tailored and taken control.  You are no longer competing against other interviewees trying to find a unique and powerful way to answer:

  • Tell me something unique about yourself?
  • Why are you leaving your job?
  • Why do you want this position?
  • What was your greatest business achievement?
  • What is your greatest weakness?

Let’s be honest, these questions are all listed on the Internet and there are actually websites providing great answers to these questions for folks to repurpose.

So how can a job candidate increase their chances of getting hired?  Differentiate yourself.  Do it the same way leading salespeople are beating their quota goals.  Teach, Tailor and Take Control.


The author, Ian Levine, is a leading speaker and blogger on advanced sales strategies and career branding.


Do you hire Jack or Jill?


The hiring manager has a dilemma.  Put yourself in their shoes.

Here is the hypothetical interview conundrum for the hiring manager looking for a worker.

Jack and Jill both applied for the water fetching job they saw on the job board. The qualifications required 5 years of pertinent experience plus proper education, references etc…

Both Jack and Jill had “strong”  interviews, looked professional and told the interviewer:

1) They spent the last 10 years fetching water.

2)     They even have fetched water up a hill.

3)     They both went to college and have liberal arts degrees from reputable schools.

4)      They both said they love fetching water.

5)     They both suggested they work really hard fetching water.

6)      They both said previous bosses, would definitely say they were really good water fetchers.

7)     Then post interview the hiring manager reviewed Google, LinkedIn & Facebook, and confirmed they both check out online. 


So, how does the hiring manager decide who to hire?  Where is the differentiation?

  • Did either candidate inquire about why the company needs water fetched?
  • Did either candidate discuss how they uniquely fetch water?
  • Did either candidate probe on the company’s water challenges and goals?
  • Did either candidate discuss alternative, efficient water fetching techniques?
  • Did either candidate ask why the company did not dig another Well?
  • Did either candidate tell the story of What if, the company built a Well on the flat area, to save energy and the personal liability insurance associated with falling on a hill?
  • What about building a pump system?


Hopefully, the point is now clear.  Interview differentiation is critical. Understanding the hiring managers goal and expressing that not only are you experienced at the task at hand, but also understand the problem, the goal and can help achieve a better future state will really resonate.  There are simply to many people competing for jobs with similar experience and qualifications.


Do you actually remember the nursery rhyme?

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.

Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got, and home did trot, as fast as he could caper,

To old Dame Dob, who patched his nob with vinegar and brown paper.

Job Interviewing: Top Ten Traits Hiring Managers Are Looking For


You’ve secured the interview.

You’ve got your full complement of personal marketing materials:  Business Cards, extra resumes, and other visual collateral that demonstrates your accomplishments and value.

You will be given 30 minutes with the hiring manager, and you are wondering how much to talk and how much to listen.

You are asking yourself; beyond fulfilling the job description duties, what is the hiring manager looking for in the candidate they plan to hire.

Here are 10 traits that almost every hiring manager is looking for when adding talent to their team.  These traits will not necessarily be listed in any job description, but they are simply qualities that managers desire in their workforce.

  1. Enthusiasm- It’s contagious and employers want employees that are excited about the firm, the job and the overall opportunity.
  2. Motivation- No firm wants an unmotivated workforce.  Convey to the prospective employer that you are self driven.
  3. Integrity- Ethics and high personal values are always a key hiring trait.
  4. Resilience- Do you demonstrate perseverance or are you a complainer when tasks or goals are tough?
  5. Ability to learn- Every job requires some level of new training. Can you articulate and provide examples of your ability to self improve?
  6. Self Awareness- Are you grounded? Do you truly understand where you fit in the corporate hierarchy and are you honest as well as realistic about your skill set.
  7. Pride- Do you value your work product or are you punching the clock and collecting the check?
  8. Task Accomplisher- Talk is cheap and actually can slow progress. Quite simply, managers want employees that get stuff done!
  9. Technologically Comfortable- There is virtually no job that does not touch technology on some level. Candidates must communicate comfort with technology. Comfort is very different from expertise.
  10. Logical- It’s hard to argue with logic. If you can demonstrate some level of deductive reasoning, it typically resonates with hiring managers. Clearly communicate you have strong “common sense”.

Before you go to your next interview, think about how you are going to convey these traits.  If you can demonstrate them, you will have a much more successful job search. Good Luck!

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