Having coached the full range of job seekers, from entry-level candidates to C-suite executives, I learned the one job interview tactic that makes the difference between success and failure. This same tactic works for coaches and consultants who want to build a larger practice, secure more clients and do it more quickly.
The true genius of this tactic comes from Anthony Parinello, the author of the best-selling book Selling to VITO: The Very Important Top Officer. Tony has written about this technique as the foundation of successful selling to executives at the top of their organizations.
There’s a profound similarity between selling to CEOs and interviewing for a job. The same fundamental truth is key for building your professional practice. The common thread between selling and interviewing is this.
Related: The mentality of a successful career
Who you think YOU ARE is the key to success (or failure).
Success is not in the hands of the person with whom you are speaking, nor is it in the product, service or skill set you believe you represent.
Per the Carnegie Institute of Technology, 85% of the decision to hire you is based on your personal traits. Only 15% of the decision is based on your skills, experience or proof that what you do is better than other people who are competing for the position.
How does the interview or potential client learn about or experience your personal traits? Largely through how they see you relate to yourself.
Self-respect, self-worth and a self-positive attitude are what you must convey in an interview. Why?
Your attitude about yourself is like a cold. It’s contagious.
If you believe you that you are lucky to have the interview, you are likely to lose the job or the deal. If you believe the recruiter, hiring manager or prospective client is lucky to have the interview: you are likely to lose the job or the deal.
If you see the interview as a meeting of two people with equal business stature—you are going to succeed.
Of course this does not mean that you can do the same work as your interviewer or prospect. Why would they need you to do that?
Equal business stature simply means you share the same profound interest in successfully accomplishing the goals of the job. It means you are someone who is bringing a solution-oriented mindset, resourcefulness, ingenuity, and commitment.
See the next interview you have as an exchange of like-minded people, equally interested in addressing the challenges of the position that needs to be filled. Don’t court, cajole, or toady; don’t undersell or overpromise.
Show up ready to engage in a business conversation, where your focus is on the problems that need to be solved—not simply on what you have or haven’t done in the past.
Simply put: show up ready to engage with clarity and confidence.
Related: How to be more persuasive at work
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