Whether you’re a student job seeker or a polished and proven executive, the first thing you must come to terms with is, “Regardless of the position you seek, you are now in sales!” The product you are selling is YOU! The interview is your opportunity to differentiate yourself in the eyes of your customer [the interviewer] when compared to your competitors [other job applicants].
Successful companies today are focused on building what’s known as, corporate “Unique Value-Add Propositions.” Simply put, a unique value proposition is designed to differentiate companies/products and services, by making a decision to do business with you, an easy one. This is accomplished by means of removing the risk in customer’s minds through obvious value-add.
So, before you go into an interview, ask yourself, “What is my unique Value-add for this company? What can I say, do, or show, that will separate me from all other candidates?” And, “How convincing am I?”
There is no secret that in many cases today, the most qualified, are not always the ones hired. Sadly, many qualified individuals lose out on opportunities expressly due to their inability to distinguish themselves [in the interview] by showing unique value-add. You may then ask, “How does one construct a value-add interview?” The process is surprisingly simple.
#1: Write down all the words that describe your unique strengths that relate to the position to which you’re applying. [Note: Five words are not enough. Try for at least fifteen / you may also ask others for their input].
#2: Write down all the words that describe your potential weaknesses as they relate to the position to which you’re applying.
#3: Turn each word into a sentence or statement. It doesn't have to be complicated. For example, if one of your strength-words was, “experience” – you could simply say, “I am experienced.” [Note: Do the same for your weaknesses list as well].
#4: Take each sentence/statement, and turn them into a question. “I am experienced” becomes, “Why am I experienced?”
To answer the question, “Why am I experienced?” automatically brings to light your real Value-Add.
From a selling point of view, ‘being experienced’ may be true, but it is only, however, a fact. “How specifically, am I experienced, and, how it will, therefore, benefit the new company,” is the real Risk-Removing, Unique-Value-Add-Information needed to showcase your talents.
Knowing the answers, ahead of time, to questions like, “Why is [this] a potential weakness for me - for this position?” is equally integral to the success of any interview. Remember that in business, the degree to which you cannot provide a unique Value-Add Proposition is in direct proportion to the degree you hurt yourself, your company and your industry. In any job interview, YOU are the company. The product you’re selling is YOU!