Marketing gurus talk about the importance of giving customers a Wow! experience. You can apply the same principles to land a Wow! job.
Not so long ago, wow was primarily an exclamation used to express amazement, astonishment or admiration. Now it’s also a noun: “Your resume is a wow!” And a verb: “You really wowed them in your interview.”
Use the Wow! factor to burnish your interviewing skills and land a plum job. Here are three ways to do that.
1. Be Prepared Going In
When coaching candidates for executive positions, career counselor Ginny Rehberg uses the 98 percent rule: 98 percent of the time you can anticipate 98 percent of the questions you will be asked.
Here are four key ones: Tell me about yourself? Describe your strengths. Describe your weaknesses. What is your present salary?
From Rehberg: “Pick up any interview book, review the lists of typical interview questions, prepare your answers and finally, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! But that’s reactive. You also need to be proactive. Think about their problems and your ideas for solutions. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. He or she has a desk full of problems. If you can come up with some ideas for how to solve those problems, you are going to stand out as the most prepared candidate. It’s as if you are already there, doing the job! The conversation will flow. The interviewer won't be forced to ask you lame questions about something totally irrelevant on your resume.”
Think of the interview as a theatrical audition. Rehearse. Out loud. In front of the mirror. Over and over again.
2. Go the Extra Mile
Smart businesses aren’t waiting for customers to come to them. They’re going to the customer. Take the document filing service MyCorporation.com. For rush cases, they drive documents to clients for signing and notarizing. Why? Because they realized if they required every client to physically come into the office they would lose a chunk of business.
How to apply that principle to your job search? First, know that prospective employers aren’t going to be beating a path to your door. You’ve got to go to them.
Second, make it easy on them to hire you. Be available (to the extent possible) at their convenience.
Third, get their attention. If you’re asked for three professional references, offer four – or fourteen. If you’ve done something especially awesome, make a short video and post it on YouTube.
Fourth, remember that although you are the interviewee, it’s not really about you. It’s about the interviewer – their hiring needs, their wants, their timetables.
Fifth, without being weirdly obsessive, let them know you really, really want the job.
3. Don’t Say No
Be positive. Offer solutions.
“[E]ven if circumstances seem to be working against you, don’t ‘no’ your way out of it. Say yes as much as you can,” says Deborah Sweeney of Forbes. “When you can’t, offer as many methods to try and help out and fulfill the need as much as possible.”
Here are some alternatives to a flat no:
- I would love the opportunity.
- I’m confident you’d be pleased with my performance.
- I’ll be happy to do some digging and get back to you.
- I’m willing to learn.
- That sounds interesting, I’d like to find out more.
- I see what you mean.
- I’d love to give that a try.
- I think my experience in XYZ would serve you well.
- My background in XYZ makes me ideal.
Wow! moments don’t just happen. They are created. Not out of thin air – but with practice, patience and persistence.
- Deborah Sweeney, Forbes.com http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahsweeney/2012/11/29/4-ways-to-wow-your-customers-with-excellent-customer-service/
- Constant Contact http://blogs.constantcontact.com/customer-relationship-marketing/
- Bates Communications http://www.bates-communications.com/articles-and-newsletters/articles-and-newsletters/bid/59800/Ask-The-Pro-How-To-Wow-Them-Every-Time-in-a-Job-Interview
Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man is an attorney who has practiced North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org