How to ensure people choose you

27th October 2015

One of my coaching customers taught me something really useful last week. Check this out…

She’d recently applied for – and got – a fantastic new job (“It’s the job of my dreams, Andy. I never thought they’d choose me”)

She told me that my interview tips had helped her in two ways, in that they’d:

  • helped her get the job; and
  • given her new confidence and skills to take into every interaction – not just the job interview

I knew the first. But was surprised by the second. She said I should share these techniques in a Tuesday Tip. In her words, “These tips are helpful for everyone applying for a job. And for everyone who isn’t.

So, everyone then!

Here are the tips…

#1 Focus on what you cause, not what you do

If I asked you “what do you do?”, you’d probably say one of two things:

  1. your job title – “I’m an accountant”; and/or
  2. the tasks you do most days – “I prepare Tax Returns”

But people don’t care what you do. They only care what they’re left with after you’ve done it (the AFTERs) – “I help people pay less tax”

So, it’s what you cause that counts.

Therefore, when preparing for an important interview/meeting, try this:

  • Get a piece of paper
  • On the left-hand side, draw a two-column table
  • Title Column #1 ‘The main tasks I do
  • Title Column #2 ‘The AFTERs it causes
  • Populate #1 with the tasks you do at work – a new row for each task
  • Populate #2 with the positive business impact each task causes. In other words, why the business is better off AFTER you’ve done it

When you’ve completed this, you’ll notice two things:

  • When you discuss your job, you tend to focus more on the things in #1. That isn’t a surprise – after all, that’s what you do all day
  • but others will be much more interested in what you’ve written in #2

So, in interviews/meetings, you should focus more on the AFTERs.

#2 Prove you caused these things to happen

Your next step is to provide cast-iron proof that you can cause Column #2’s AFTERs to happen.

So, construct a third column called ‘proofs’. In it, list real-life examples of when you delivered #2’s AFTERs.

#3 Prove you’re different

Interviews involve you proving you can deliver the AFTERs the interviewer wants in ways others can’t.

Although Columns #1-#3 impress, others – your ‘competitors’- could say the same. So, you now need to prove that you cause these AFTERs in ways that others can’t.

To do this, create a fourth column titled ‘Unlike others…’ In it, list the different approaches/experiences you bring – ones that others simply can’t say – that helped deliver #2’s AFTERs.

#4 Learn your table

Now you’ve completed the table, learn it. Don’t take it into your interview/meeting!

And, once you’ve learnt it, here’s how you should use it…

#5 Focus on their priorities, not yours

Your table contains everything you do, the AFTERs it causes, proof it works and why nobody else can say the same as you.

However, your interviewer won’t want to know every single thing in your table. Instead, she’ll be most interested in the rows that tie in with her priorities.

To find which ones these are, ask. So, script and rehearse the questions you’ll use to uncover her top priorities. For example, you might say “There are many areas we could focus on today. But let’s start with the most important. Which are your key priorities?”

(Note: you don’t have to use these words exactly. But you do need to know which words you’ll use… or you might not ask. And, if you don’t ask, you won’t know)

Her answer will (hopefully) be something you’ve written in Columns #1 or #2 – “our biggest priority is…

  • …that you know how to complete Tax Returns” or
  • …to help our customers reduce their tax bills”

Once she’s told you the row she’s interested in, discuss everything in it. After you’ve done so, she’ll realise you can deliver positive business impact in ways others can’t.

#6 Remove the things you’re dreading

One final thing to prep: there’ll be certain sentences you dread hearing her say… “you’re too expensive… you don’t have the experience… we already have a preferred candidate” and so on.

It’s essential you also know how to remove these. This is relatively straightforward to do, but takes a bit of explaining.

So, to keep this week’s Tuesday Tip manageable, I’ll stop now and cover this next week. So, for now…

Action point

…why not create your table? It won’t take long. But it will help you – as my customer says – when you’re in job interviews, and when you aren’t.

And, if you want loads more simple tips to incorporate into your next conversations, check out these videos.

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