Some people have a gift for sales.  However in the job-seeking business, good salesmanship requires listening carefully to the interviewer and reading the interviewer’s body language. You must be intuitive enough to take what you hear during the interview process and directly use it towards your interviewing pitch.

  • Be flexible. Don’t try and do the same interview at every company. While you should know your strengths inside out and be prepared to talk about them, listen first to find out what is most important to the employer.
  • Tailor your interview to the company’s needs. Get your hands on a copy of the full job description.  This will help you tailor your answers to better showcase your skills.
  • Pay attention to the interviewer.  Is she/she leaning forward in her chair, maintaining good eye contact with you? (Interested!) Or, is she/he leaning back, arms crossed, looking at their desk most of the time? (Couldn’t care less!)  Pay attention to the nonverbal buying signals is just as important as what an interviewer says.
  • Verbal buying signals include comments like: “That sounds interesting,” or “You’ve got that right. We’ve had the same issue here.” When you hear these comments, give them more as you are on the right track.
  • Ask open-ended questions. The question, “Do you plan on expanding?” is closed-ended, requiring only a yes or a no response. Instead, ask, “What direction does the company plan on taking in the next year or two?” You’ll get much more detail out of this open-ended question, allowing you to further customize your interview responses.

In conclusion, avoid being a career salesperson and instead watch and listen for buying signals on your next interview.  It could lead you to your next big role!

By Ronald Hardney | People Science Talent Advisor