My Medical Device Sales Career
I just may scream! Another candidate just used the worst line to ask for the job! It seems to be the most popular way for most candidates to close the interview, yet it is not the best way, it is actually the worst way to ask for a job. I will give you the best approach to asking for the job after I reveal to you the worst way. Be patient, because first I would like to reveal some recruiting and hiring manager secrets that set the stage and give you the build up and hopefully the understanding of why a generally accepted way of asking for the job is the worst way to do it.
Asking for the job is called, "Closing the interview" by recruiters and hiring managers. For those interviewing for a sales position, that part of the interview is very important, because the interview emulates a sales call. Due to the similarities between interviewing and selling, sales people may know what I mean when I say, "You must close the interview." If you are not in sales, please still pay attention, this is important for you to understand too! Closing the interview means using the right approach during the interview process to get to "yes." It is asking for the job in the right way that will put your best foot forward and help lead the hiring manager to say, "Yes! the job is yours!"
That said, many sales people do not understand how to translate the same skills used to close the sale (asking for the order) into closing the interview. In fact, they would never close their sales calls with the line they use to close their job interview. I believe most people think of the interviewing process as totally different than the sales process. Getting to "Yes" is not difficult if you are qualified for the job and you know how to ask the question in a manner that stirs the hiring manager to think and feel "Yes".
Every job candidate is a sales person during the interview process! I don't care what occupation you are in or interviewing for, you are selling yourself. If you are a sales person, then listen up, the pressure is even greater that you know how to close the interview effectively!
There are strong similarities between selling and interviewing (especially if you are interviewing for a sales or sales support job as mentioned earlier). Hiring Sales Managers want to see the same selling skills reflected in the way you are closing them during the interview. They realize they are witnessing first hand how someone sells! Once job candidates also realize the similarities between interviewing and selling, they often will ask me, "How did I ever think I would get the job or get to the next step in the interview using that terrible interview close?"
Think of it this way; you are asking the hiring manager to put their money and reputation on the line by extending you an offer for employment! They can't return you within 30 days of your employ with no questions asked (unless they uncover a deal killer with your background check); Human Resources and the Legal Department have hiring guidelines! Returning you to perhaps your previous job, who already more than likely replaced you or wouldn't hire you back anyway, is not as easy as returning a pair of underpants! Did I just say that? Of course I do understand that returning a pair of underpants can be more difficult than perhaps other less personal clothing items, so let's just say it is way harder for a Hiring Manager to return you to your former place of hire than a pair of underpants to the store!
Am I comparing you to a pair of underpants? Well, in a way; during the interview you are the product. The customer is the Hiring Manager and he is out shopping! In fact, it is a great way to shop, because literally all the different types of products come walking through his door for review; big ones, little ones, pretty ones and not so pretty ones. Now this is the way to shop! The customer gets to sit back and check out the merchandise, ask some tough questions on the history of product performance and generally poke and prod the product with tough interview questions. In fact, if he is hiring sales people, he get's to see a little demonstration on how the product will perform in front of his customers during a sales call!
Perhaps I should have used buying a wedding dress vs. a pair of underpants for my product example! Women love going to a bridal shop and looking at all the dresses parade in, they sit back; oohing and awing over some dresses, while laughing at the misfits until they have it narrowed to a couple of dresses. Sometimes the future bride gets lucky and finds that perfect wedding dress! The minute they try it on they know it. It is just the jaw-dropper. No questions asked, THIS IS THE DRESS! A perfect choice.
Now back to the interview process, the Hiring Manager is going through the same process as our blushing bride-to-be and her wedding party. He is trying to pick the best person who seems to have all the qualities and promise that will most satisfy the needs for his open job opportunity. There are many other similarities leading up to the close that mimic a sales call, like effectively handling customer objections or the reason's why a Hiring Manager may not hire you you throughout the process. Even if you handled those objections very well, you could still erase all the good that went on during that interview by asking for the job in the worst way!
The Worst Way To Ask For The Job
So what is the closing line that is the worst, yet the most popular, way to ask for the job? Here it is, because I am sure you are tired of waiting for it!
Thanks so much for interviewing me today! I appreciate the opportunity and after reviewing my background and experience I only have one question left. Is there anything that would prevent you from moving me forward?
or let's look at a rendition of the same terrible line:
Is there anything that would prevent you from hiring me?
Wow, are you actually asking them to think of reasons why they would not hire you? Do sales people use that line to get people to buy their product? Do top sales people handle all the sales objections effectively during the sales call and at the end of it ask their customer, "Is there any reasons why you would not buy my product?" Of course not!
Sales people know they need to review and highlight all the reasons why their customer was interested and even excited about buying their product. They would never end a sales call by evoking the emotional reasons that would prevent their customers them buying their product! "Hey buddy, wait before you get your wallet out! Is there anything preventing you from buying this two-seater luxury car? After all, you did tell me it was too expensive and not practical before you gave it a test drive." So why would you use that technique in trying to sell yourself to an employer?
Now sometimes I get this type of reply from the lucky few,
"But Linda, I have used that line in the past to ask for the job and it worked for me, I got the job."
I tell them,
"You got lucky."
A pause before I hear,
"You got lucky. You assumed you were the perfect fit for the job without having the advantage of seeing all the other job candidates the hiring manager was interviewing. So you gambled that you were the jaw-dropper candidate without one possible objection of why he would not hire you."
So yes, the line will work if there truly is nothing major preventing you from getting the job or they see your strengths outweighing the negatives.
So remember, don't ask for the job assuming you are the perfect wedding dress! In this job market, it is rare when there is just one perfect candidate; there are often at least two or three for every job. The hiring process is an emotional process for all parties, but especially the Hiring Manager, even if he thinks a candidate is perfect for the job, he knows there is always the element of the unknown. He could just be hiring a problem away from another other company. We call that a hiring nightmare.
Ask the question that would evoke positive and reinforcing emotions from the Hiring Manager, make him think about all the reason's why he would want to hire you, NOT the reason's that would prevent him from getting his wallet out!
The Best Way To Ask For the Job
During the interview process, prior to asking for the job, you should have discovered exactly what segment of your experience and talent meets or exceeds the requirements for the job, as seen through the eyes of the hiring manager. Interviewing is a discovery process for both parties and if, during that process, you uncovered AND received positive reinforcement from the hiring manager on your qualifications, then you are ready to close the interview the right way.
Thanks so much for interviewing me today. As you can see and as we discussed, I have many of the qualifications you deemed important to succeed in your position (mention and quickly summarize/review a few of your key strengths that are important to the job requirements). Can you see where those or perhaps other attributes I am bringing to the table could be a good fit for you, your organization and your open position?
Now you have the hiring manager thinking about your strengths and he may surprise you and bring up a few more. You are encouraging him to think out loud as to why he should hire you, let him talk and sell himself on why he should say "Yes" to hiring you! Then go for the close. Wait, perhaps the hiring manager merely nods in agreement with you as you are reviewing your agreed upon strengths. He is smiling, he is nodding his head and you can tell he doesn't care to speak further! You have sold him! Then go for the close. Go ahead, just dive in and get to "Yes" by asking:
Then the only question that I have for you is; Can I have it? Can I have the job (or proceed to the next step in the process)? I am very excited to work for you and your company and I know I could do a great job, will you give me the opportunity (if this is the final interview)?
I promise it is that easy getting to "Yes", but what if the manager didn't let you get to that closing question. What if he started nodding to all those great qualifications you summarized, but then he steps in and says "Yes, you have those qualifications, BUT I am concerned about....". Then he does have something preventing you from moving forward, but now you have an opportunity to address or re-address it with him before you try to ask him for the job or the next interview step. Try to resolve the concern, but if you can't resolve it, you have still given yourself a way to get back to what you are bringing to the table. You are going to help him weigh perhaps that one concern against all the other great qualifications you bring to the job. "Given all my other strong qualifications, do you see me moving on to the next step?"
Just remember, when you get to the end of the interview and you have led the discovery phase of the interview properly, there should be no surprises when asking for the job the right way. You always increase your chances of getting to "Yes" by selling the Hiring Manager on why he would want to hire you vs. the reasons that would prevent him from hiring you!
©Linda Hertz, All Rights Reserved
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