12 Business Days of Salesforce: 2 Secrets to a Stellar Interview

 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 2 Secrets to a Stellar InterviewAs a former journalist, I’ve spent a lot of time interviewing. Along the way, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter whether you’re talking to a U.S. Senator, a feminist icon, or an eager job applicant: interviewees share certain characteristics.

Think about the situation. The interviewer is there to get information — whether it’s the background she needs to make a hiring decision, the quotes she needs to write a story, or the information she needs to sell her product effectively. She needs to get the right information in as efficient a way as possible, so she needs the interviewee to be honest, forthcoming, and responsive.

The interviewee is there to give information — whether it’s details about his career goals, his opinion about the future of sales, or the business problem he’s trying to solve. He needs to be heard and understood — even when he doesn’t say something explicitly.

Both sides of the equation, people are trying to solve problems. So how might we improve that process — and help them solve problems faster?

Interview Secret #1: Listen

This sounds obvious, but it isn’t. There’s a distinction between hearing what another person is saying and actually listening to the meaning behind the words. This is true regardless of whether you’re in an interview situation or just talking with a friend: what people don’t say is often more important than the words they do use.

If you’re conducting a job interview, for instance, it’s fine to show up with a list of questions — but if you’re doing it right, you should end up skipping around instead of going in order. And you should ask at least two questions that aren’t on your list, based on new ideas that emerge in talking with your interviewee.

This applies if you’re on a sales call, too: new information will surface, and you should be ready to adjust your strategy in the moment. 

Interview Secret #2: Switch sides

One of the best pieces of job interview advice I’ve ever received was to remember that an interview is never a one-sided interaction: both people are looking to gain from the situation, just in different ways. If you’re nervous about a job interview, remember that the recruiter has as problem to solve, too: just as you’re looking for a job, she’s looking for someone to fill a position.

The same thing applies to a sales call: sure, you’re looking to sell your product, but the prospect is probably willing to listen to you because he has a business problem he’s hoping your product can help solve. 

Try to adopt the other person’s perspective at least twice during your interview. Not only will it help you understand their needs, but it will also help you tailor your message to what they want — and make you more successful when it comes to getting the job or closing the deal.

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 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 2 Secrets to a Stellar Interview

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