Most IT candidates view job interviews as a passive event. They’ll prepare as well as they can ahead of time for the questions that are most likely to be asked, but once the interview starts, the hiring manager directs the conversation. It’s the interviewer’s job to ask questions, and the candidate’s job to answer them.
But if you change your perception of job interviews, you can become an active participant with a role in steering the conversation, and substantially increase your chances of getting hired.
Essentially, a job interview is a sales presentation. You are the salesperson, and the product you’re selling is yourself — your skills, your experiences, and the potential value you can bring to the company. Preparing for your next IT interview the same way a sales pro puts a presentation together can help you stand out, get noticed, and get the job.
These tips will help you develop a powerful sales presentation that will sell hiring managers on you.
Know your prospect
Before the interview, research the hiring manager and find out as much as you can about their profile and background. LinkedIn is typically a good place to start, and you may also find some information on the company website. Look for potential icebreakers or any connections you can mention.
While you’re on the company’s website, gather background information on the company itself — make sure you understand their markets, products and services, and brush up on their history. Note the name of the CEO as well.
Take the wheel
At the interview, once you’ve introduced yourself and broken the ice, start out by asking the hiring manager a few specific questions that illustrate your knowledge and interest. Your questions might be related to the particular job, the company, or the hiring manager personally, such as “What was it that attracted you to this company?”
While you’re asking the initial questions, confirm your understanding of the essential requirements for the position with the hiring manager. This sets the stage for your presentation, and helps you uncover any additional interest areas that you may be able to address to strengthen your position.
Connect the dots
When the hiring manager asks traditional interview questions, answer by relating your skills and experiences directly to the job requirements you’ve already confirmed. If you have nice-to-have or non-essential expertise, feel free to highlight those areas with examples that tie them into the role.
In addition, relate your best professional achievements and success stories that tie into the confirmed requirements. You can also share information that falls outside your professional life, to highlight your personality and cultural fit.
Illustrate the future
Let the hiring manager know that you’re looking for a career, not just a paycheck, by asking questions about the company’s current and future projects. Ask about expectations for performance, and listen for potential “hot buttons” where you can speak directly to your experience in handling these issues.
Finally, close out your presentation by restating your genuine interest in the position, summarizing the benefits of hiring you — and asking for the job.
With preparation and groundwork, you can sell yourself as an IT candidate and impress hiring managers with a stand-out presentation. Contact The Armada Group to learn more about how to get out there and close the sale!