That’s the number of times a recent phone interviewee did not start their sentence with “I.” Other than their final sentence – “thank you” – every single one began with talking about themselves.
I want this job because…
I am the best at…
I believe I’m a good candidate because…
I have sold to…
I wake up every morning hoping to…
There’s one big problem with that:
It’s not about you.
Or, more accurately: it’s not just about you.
I see this all the time when people apply for jobs. It’s especially common in sales and leadership. Forget your audience, and you’ll miss out on the job, the sale, the pitch, the short window of time or whatever you’re trying to persuade people to do.
Here are some things to keep in mind – regardless which side of the interview table you’re sitting on.
If you’re the one doing the interviewing:
Every interviewer wants you to connect the dots between the job description and what the job actually looks like. Describe the great culture you claim to have, using concrete, specific examples.
If you’re the one being interviewed:
The burden is on you to talk about yourself. Prove yourself and your fit – while also winning over the interviewer. Anybody can say they’re hard worker, and it’s probably true. You need to paint a picture of what “hard worker” means. Then, connect it back to the company at which you are interviewing: what will that look like for them? How will it benefit them?
No matter what, ask questions:
There is a legendary story about how Dale Carnegie spent 5-10 minutes talking to a woman, asking questions and listening. She ended up speaking only about herself, and she walked away describing Carnegie as the best conversationalist she had ever met. You will win on content based on the questions you ask rather than the amount of information you share about yourself.
The best way to draw others in is to engage them.
This is true for any job, any company, any product, any sale – make it about your listener, and then you will be more influential.
If you focus on them, you will shine.
Written by: Ben Decker, CEO of Decker Communications, is an expert in consulting, training and messaging for effective business communications. He has worked with hundreds of leaders in Fortune 500 companies to strategize and implement communications solutions that are practical, direct and attainable.