To receive a job offer from that fantastic company you’re interviewing with, you’ll need to convince the hiring team your background and experience is essential to their organization – that they must hire you.
I preach you must be able to articulate your value proposition or the “what’s in it for them if they hire you” interview response. I also suggest that you need to talk about your leadership brand which is your reputation, or how you’ve come to be known as a professional. Now all the sudden I’m saying no one cares about your brand? What?! Hear me out.
The reason Starbucks and Apple are such iconic brands is that people have come to understand their products intimately. I know and trust that every time I taste my coconut latte, independent of geography, it’s going to be delicious. It’s consistent and amazing. Same goes with Apple. People wait in crazy long lines and pre-order the latest tech devices because Apple’s products are highly engineered, beautiful supercomputers. They’re just plain cool. In an interview, the expression of your brand cannot be just words; you must also make your brand come to life so the hiring team can buy in.
What this means is that a brand statement alone is not going to give your interviewer “buyer confidence”; they need to experience you being awesome. For example, when you go to buy a car, the dealer doesn’t just tell you about the vehicle or give you examples of when the car handled well in the snow. No, you take it out for a test drive! This same principle applies when interviewing. You must make your brand come alive in that same way.
In essence, your brand promise speaks for itself when you can tangibly display your talents. In creative fields, it’s easy, show your portfolio. However, in service professions where you may be a subject matter expert who has also been leading people, what do you “show” instead? Here are two suggestions that will support you by delivering your brand promise:
1. Pull out a well-constructed 90-day plan document. Having a work product that shows the depth to which you’ve considered how you’re going to support this new organization is always a tipping point for interviews because it shows a whole other level of preparation and commitment. It gives the hiring team experiential insight into how your brain works in problem-solving and planning. If you’re an executive, this is what you’re being hired to do. Vision and execute.
2. Use your interview as a consulting session. When allowed to ask questions, ask something like, “What’s the organization’s greatest challenge?” When answered, go into troubleshooting mode. Consider if this was your role and your company; how would you go about solving this challenge? Think out loud; offer your suggestions and opinions. What you’re doing here is giving the interviewer insight into how you think, solve problems and plan. Consulting in an interview is a close approximation to delivering on your brand. Ultimately your brand does matter, and your interviewer does care about it, but the words alone are not enough. You can’t just talk the talk; you must also demonstrate your brand promise. Also, when prepping for your next interview, ensure you can nail the top three questions. Get your response strategy guide here.