Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

Presenting a Big Thick Brag Book Like It's 1985? Then You Need To Change Your Style!

Wow! Here is something that just didn't line up for me! I took a job candidate, John, who I just placed into a new job, to lunch this past week. He starts his job in a few days. I asked him what he did to get the job. He indicated that there were at least 7 steps to the process and he obviously did well in all of them, but there is one thing he felt set himself apart.

I was hanging on every word, because we just had a top candidate in another job opening with the same company and the SAME regional VP conducting the final interview (with the hiring manager) and she also did very well in each step, but SHE DID NOT GET the job. Maybe THIS thing he did is what that other person didn't do. So I took mental notes as he spoke.

"Linda, I wowed them! I really did and I could tell as I was presenting to them my Brag Book. I simply told them that I would like to show them some of my top successes and how I drive sales numbers."

OK, heard that one before. I was thinking to myself, but as John continued to tell me HOW he presented his Brag Book, I began to get real interested.

"It really worked out great, I made 2 slim lined (abbreviated) Brag Books hard copy, just enough in it to highlight the bright points of my career. The two slim books were under my right arm resting on the round table where we were having our interview. Sitting on top of these two Brag Books I also had my iPad, so my arm was directly resting on that ALL READY TO GO..juiced and on the page." I had to stop him.

"Wait a minute", I said in disbelief, "Don't tell me you used your iPad to present your Brag Book to the Region Vice President?" I went on to say, "I have known this RVP for a long time and he ALWAYS tells the candidates that he does not want to see a Power Point or anything electronically". Now it was John's turn to interrupt me.

"Well I wouldn't know, I didn't ask him how he wanted to see it, I just knew if I had it ready to go and got something in his hands it would work." I stepped in again still not believing my ears, "So you must walk me through the moves...how did you do it?"

He smiled and replied, "It is all in the way I did it, boom, boom; I reached quickly under my right arm with my left hand, handed each of them a slim line Brag Book while my right hand was opening up my iPad and touching the screen to activate it." Another big smile crossed his face as he relived the moment. Then he went on to say, "I had their attention on me flipping the pages of the iPad walking them through my Brag Book of accomplishments and having them follow along on the key pages they had in hard copy in front of them". He then ended the discussion with me on the final note, "If the guy didn't want to see it electronically, well, I didn't give him a chance to say no and as I was conducting the presentation of it....I knew I had captured the attention of both the direct hiring manager and the RVP!"

I laughed and could only say, "Wow!" out loud this time. I went on to say, "You did a lot of right-on things with that type of Brag Book presentation, you didn't ask if you could present it electronically AND you had it all set to go. In addition, you showed them both you know how to be engaging in a presentation and how to handle the written and the new technology support materials."

I drove home from the lunch thinking, John's approach was excellent, it mirrored the type of sales call this company does with it's sophisticated medical device line to physicians. He showed management that he could present and sell himself by using the same same type of presentation style their company uses to sell the doctors! John not only displayed his accomplishments to get the job, but a great selling style that would work well with selling their product to physicians!

I then had another thought, But WHY was my other candidate who interviewed with the same company and same RVP told NOT to present their Brag Book electronically? I knew exactly what I was going to do the minute I reached my office. I was going to call Sue, the job candidate who was still searching for a job, right away to unravel what I suspected might have happened.

I grabbed the phone. I decided to ask her first to lay out how she presented her Brag Book during her last interview. She was happy to hear from me and I decided not to tell her about John's approach of presenting until I could understand what she did first. I started the conversation by asking her to walk me through that last interview she had a couple of weeks ago and specifically how she presented her Brag Book and materials.

"Well Linda, I was told by their sales representative during my field visit that the RVP does not like to see electronic anything during the interview process. So when I went into that final interview I had my Brag Books all copied for both of them, the hiring manager and the RVP." She said this all in a very matter of fact manner. I continued to listen.

"Before I reached for the 3 big Brag Books."

I interrupted, "Sue, you made 3 big Brag Books?"

"Of course" she replied. "In fact, it took me hours and money making those books at the Kinko's as I remember!", she said with a laugh.

"OK, so what happened next?" I asked.

"Well, as I was saying, before I reached over for the Brag Books,that were setting next to me, I asked if I could pull out my lap top since I could present in Power Point too. The RVP quickly said no, the written books were fine."

I stopped her and asked, "Why do you think he said that?"

She replied with, "Well I am sure he did not want me to take the time to pull out my lap top, boot it up, find the Power Point and then conduct it. Plus, he probably saw how big and fat my Brag Book was and it scared him." We both laughed at that!

I then blurted out, "EXACTLY, it looked like all too much! Now let me share with you what a person did who did get the job in a different territory with the same RVP."

I could visualize Sue's mouth dropping open in amazement when I described the way John handled his presentation of materials. Together we came up with an astonishing realization. Most Hiring Managers are over the age of 35 and RVP's perhaps even older, yes they may use the iPad personally or maybe even for business, BUT mentally when someone asks them if they would like to see a Power Point or anything like that during the interview they are thinking of lost time booting up and fumbling around with a Lap Top Computer.

Certainly the content of a Brag Book, that I outlined in my older previous blog, still stands today. The difference is in the presentation of it and how you use it during the interview. The difference can be getting the job. This is still a tough job market and getting the edge in the interview does make that difference. Gaining the edge for John was not interviewing and presenting his accomplishments like it is 1985! To him presenting a big thick Brag Book was like wearing a big thick Mullet to the interview. One has to change with the times, what was once considered acceptable and maybe even cool at the time, could now be viewed as dated and yes, a little funny too. Perhaps the big thick Brag Book is going the way of the Mullet. Time will tell.

 

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By Linda Hertz

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