Winning The Right To Interview
As a Career Coach I interact with many job seekers. Some are currently in a role, others have recently had their roles disestablished. Most think they’re the ideal candidate for the role(s) they’re now applying for. Most have done little or no research, undertaken due diligence regarding the potential employer / company, or even completed any analysis of how the role fits with their career and personal goals. The reality is, most candidates are unsuccessful either through a lack of preparation or a lack of understanding of what the real ‘hot buttons’ are for the prospective employer.
If you are applying for a new role, either through a job ad or via a direct approach, regard it as an invitation to submit a proposal. A business proposal.
Best in class win rates for business proposals (RFI / RFP) is greater than 80%. Those that sit above this level apply a strict opportunity capture and ‘bid-no bid’ process, undertake rigorous research, and apply robust bid management before submitting their proposal. As a job applicant – you should apply the same process.
How many times do you hear the habitual applicant saying “I’ve applied for at least 20 jobs, and no-one’s interviewing me! Can’t they see I’d be great for those jobs?!!” Yes – all of them.
Why don’t they win the opportunity to interview?
What was the gap?
Why would they be great for all of those roles – all 20 of them?!
Why would any prospective employer want to interview them?
Think of an iceberg. You only see what’s above the water (the top 1/3). What lies below the surface is your most powerful discriminator opportunity. It’s also your greatest risk and opportunity for failure.
What’s in the job ad is obvious (above the waterline). But an understanding of the opportunities and employer ‘hot buttons’ which are hidden below the waterline will enable you to match your skills and compelling value propositions to address those oft-hidden requirements that your competitor candidates didn’t see. Those ‘hidden’ requirements for the role are potentially your trump cards. And if you know them, you’ll potentially trump all other competitor candidates.
So – the process I take my job candidate clients through is very similar to the RFI / RFP response process.
Bid or No-Bid? Why are you applying? Be ruthless! Don’t waste your time and theirs if there’s no clear value.
- NO [Stop]
- YES [Follow 1 – 5]
- Research, research, research! Develop your ‘discriminators’ – clearly defined and articulated, addressing the employers ‘hot buttons’. (What’s really keeping them awake at night – the ‘real’ reasons, not your ‘perceived’ reasons)
- Your value propositions – addressing employer needs and ‘hot buttons’
- The proof. Back up your value / skill claims with fact and examples.
- What benefit above all other candidates will the prospective employer gain from employing you. What will you do for them (future) – not just what you have done for others (past).
- Develop your positioning statement – powerful, on message, compelling. This is your elevator pitch in 15 seconds reading time.
The first page of your covering letter and Curriculum Vitae (CV) must win you the right to interview. The balance of your CV is the proof and detail behind your proposal to be interviewed and their comfort / reason to invest the time to interview you.
The next step is to nail your interview. Practice.
Talk to some of my client candidates and ask them what the key learning is that they walk away with and I’ll bet it will be around their ability to pitch their value proposition and how best to position themselves to win the right to interview.
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