How to differentiate yourself when you are interviewing

Whether selling is something you are comfortable with or not, a critical part of the interviewing process is understanding the competitive landscape.  Here are some questions to consider:

  • How many other candidates are you competing with?
    • 10? 20? More?
    • If you cannot get this information, assume you have many competitors…it will make you work smarter.
  • What is the hiring manager balancing every week besides participating in the interviewing process? 
    • Recruiting new team members is one of many responsibilities.

You are competing with other candidates, the option the manager has “to do nothing” and their other responsibilities!  How you can prepare yourself to standout from competition will dramatically increase your chances of success.  Hopefully, the approach I outline below will sound familiar (from either your experience and/or my previous posts).

Become an expert on the company, key contacts

Getting yourself selected over the competition may not be an easy road.  Why is doing the homework important?

  • Provides multiple paths to decision makers/influencers in the hiring process
  • Allows for creative approaches during interview
  • Knowledge WILL separate you from competition

Summary of information you should gather and ideas for sources:

Understand how a hiring decision will be made

I know I have made the mistake in the past of not understanding how a buying decision was going to be made.  This certainly did not help my chances of winning.  Avoid this frustration by ensuring you understand how the hiring decision will be made.  Information you need to know includes the following.  Hopefully this looks immediately familiar…

  • Key players in decision process
  • Decision criteria
  • Timeline for decision
  • Decision process steps

Leverage your knowledge!

If possible, find someone (inside the company) who can “coach” you regarding the information you are looking for.  Your creative ideas will naturally flow as you gain more knowledge.  Particularly if you are interviewing for a sales role, the hiring manager should be excited that you are asking questions and working hard to do your homework. 

Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this topic further!