In a decade of recruiting for countless sales and marketing jobs spanning numerous industries and locations, there is a reliable stable of tricks I’ve seen job seekers use to put themselves ahead of the crowd in any interviewing situation.
Below are the top three tactics to take your interviewing to the next level, bringing you more and better employment offers.
1. Do meaningful research
Once you’ve secured an interview, everyone knows the basic rule “do your research.” But keep in mind that anyone can read a company’s website, and your interviewing competition will do just that.
The idea of doing research on the company prior to the interview isn’t so you can rattle off factoids you gleaned from their website or list their major competitors to prove you read up a little on the industry.
Set yourself apart by digging into as much recent history of the company as you can find (such as recent earnings reports for public firms, press releases and social media profiles, articles in the media about the company and the industry).
By learning about the company’s recent direction and plans for the future, you gain a key piece of insight as to how you can help build momentum in the position.
2. Take cues from your interviewer
By far and away, the most consistent feedback our executive sales recruiters hear about successful job seekers is that they were able to follow the interviewer’s cues and provide the information the interviewer sought.
By and large this is about listening and watching (when not on a phone interview).
For instance, job seekers with spot-on qualifications lose out on the next interview by never answering the question being asked, and instead monologuing on the topics they feel show them in the best light.
At the other end of the spectrum, candidates who perhaps seem like less than perfect fits on paper come through interviews with flying colours when they successfully engage on an interpersonal level with the interviewer.
Whether you are dealing with a by-the-book HR associate or an off-the-cuff director of marketing, you are interviewing with the person through whom you take the next step to getting an offer, and adaptability is the name of the game.
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3. Treat interviewers like clients
Approach the interview process as if it were any other client-facing project and you will usually find the steadiest footing. You would never dream of not following up with a client or potential client, or not thanking them for their time.
Likewise, it ought to be second nature to ask clients for their priorities for the project (or in this case, the position) and to find out about the main challenges they want you to tackle as a vendor (or in this case, as an employee).
In many ways, skilled sales and marketing job seekers come into the job search a step ahead. Use those skills to your advantage.
In the End
Whether you are after an entry-level marketing role with a multinational firm or an executive-level business development role with a software startup, these are the major steps you can take to ensure your success in the interview process.
There are no guarantees in interviewing, but the above tactics are the most sure-fire ones to land you that next step in any interview process.
Ken Sundheim (@ken_sundheim) is a contributor to the Personal Branding Blog and is the CEO of KAS Placement Sales and Marketing Recruiters, a sales and marketing recruiting firm specializing in staffing business development and marketing professionals around the U.S.