Interview tips beyond the usual

  • Stephanie Clark

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Are you your own “Sales Prevention Department”?

Posted by Stephanie on August 5, 2011

Recently my husband and I decided to stop off for breakfast on our way home from the airport. I’m a bit of a “food snob” (I like organic, or at least good ingredients), and my husband has celiac disease (no bread) so eating out can be a challenge.

I nixed one restaurant, part of a chain that is known for quantity rather than quality, but noted a charming tea house serving breakfast in a refurbished century home. (“This one” I thought,” will surely use real butter and good quality ingredients.”)

As we walked up to the front porch, a woman rushed out and told us, no, they are not quite open, it will be at least another 15 minutes. We were taken aback by the forcefulness of her communications. Sales Prevention came to mind.

And this, of course, got my career practitioner brain thinking of how people communicate during interviews. How often might you have been a sales preventer as opposed to a sales facilitator?

  • have you replied to a question with a flat “no,” without following with a “however”? For example “No, I am not familiar with that database; however, I have learned three different databases over the years and have gone on to use them with agility.”
  • have you allowed the interviewer make your qualifications seem less than “perfect,” without challenging his or her thinking. For example “It is true that I didn’t arrive at the position of Director of IT through the usual route of a university degree; however, I continually serve as a go-to person, even to those who have graduated with a related degree. Part of my deep understanding of IT is innate – I have always had an aptitude for technology – and much of it is due to extensive and hands-on experience with complex projects in demanding, 24/7/365 environments that allowed for no downtime without serious financial repurcussions.”

 Had the reception at the charming tea house been one of “Folks, although we’re not quite open, come on in and enjoy a coffee and you can be our very first customers today … And isn’t it a gorgeous day too?!” we would have stayed and spent our money there.

Practice promoting yourself from a “sales facilitator” not a “sales prevention” perspective.


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