Boss the interview

Selling means structuring what you say to impel people in the moment towards a buying decision, ideally in your favour.


‘Structure’ here means not only structuring your sentences and phrasing but the overall structure of the dialogue itself, which can be understood as: Opening. Demonstrating Value. Closing.

Otherwise you’re just talking about your ‘product’ or ‘pitching’. Which in the context of a job interview, where you are the product, means talking about yourself.


That’s what most interviews are: a pitch for the job. Ditto many sales scenarios  which sales people refer to as beauty contests, i.e. where each seller/candidate makes their pitch.


This is typically the case in a tender situation where the seller is one of a short-list of 2 to 5 rival bidders competing for the business.


It’s called ‘beauty contest’ because someone has to get the job/deal/contract. As opposed to a situation where, even if you have a competitor, the buyer might still opt to do nothing rather than spend his money on whatever it is you’re selling.


Which is not usually the case in a job interview. In spite of what Steve Jobs said about it being “Better to have a hole than an asshole filling it”, unless all the candidates are very weak indeed, the chances are someone will get the job.


And in virtue of being interviewed at all one is already qualified for the role on paper. To that extent one’s value has already been endorsed.


Hence the interview very much fits the beauty contest ‘frame’ with the interviewer as the judge whom the contestants must impress.


All conventional interview advice for candidates tends to reinforce that frame, where the interviewer says: “Jump”, the candidate: “How high?”


But the object of the interview, for the candidate at any rate, is to engage with the interviewer in terms of the factors that will determine their selection process/’buying decision’, i.e. to win commitment if not a decision while in front of them, just as one would a client. Not merely to impress them: ‘please choose me’ style.


Which means re-framing the interview to subliminally position one’s self as the selector. After all, a genuinely high value candidate is bound to have other options.


And in a sales or senior management role the interview itself is the demonstration of value.


The ‘re-frame’ is more in the structure than in the substantial content, i.e. the toning and timing of your speech: when and how more than what you say.


The notion that you might have other options inferred by the interviewer from the impression you’ve left them with by holding your own frame rather than being pulled into theirs.


Which is bound to be a key attribute of what they’re looking for in a salesperson to represent their business.


Boss the interview is a method to enable the candidate to properly engage with the interviewer, i.e. to frame the interview as a ‘sale’, and exert some influence over the selection decision in the moment.


Because that’s the only time when you can exert a decisive influence. It’s too late after you’ve left the room. You might still get the job, but why leave it to chance?

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