7 Step Interview

7 Step Interview “Sales Process”

Russ Mountain, CPC

General Preparation:

The person with the most experience or best resume doesn’t always get the job. Look at the last 3 newly named Presidents of the US.  Clinton, Bush Jr. and most recently Obama.  None of these candidates had the better resume compared to their much more experienced opponents.  However, each of them did out perform their oponent in the long interview process with the American public that won them the highest job in the free world of politics.

You too, can have an advantage if you prepare well and interview better than your competition.  One good basic strategy to follow is the 7 steps of the “Sales Process” during an interview.

The 7 Steps


 Familiarize yourself with the company and job with real time information by calling someone in the company who already does the job, if possible.  Let them know you are researching a career with the organization and would like their first hand thoughts.  Have a lot of good questions that will help you go into the interview well informed.

  •  Be prepared to be asked “What Do You Know About Us?”  Take the initiative to learn as much as possible about the company. The following mediums can provide you with valuable information:
    • Annual report
    • Web pages
    • Internet resouces: Google, Hoovers, etc.
    • Newspaper/magazine articles (the local library is a good resource)
  •  Prepare to ask thoughtful questions - More, stronger impressions will be formed by others based on what you ASK vs how you respond to questions.  Prepare some great thought provoking questions that speak to your level of business accumen and intellectual curiosity.
  • Be prepared to show a lot interest in the company and their business through your questions.
  • Always be positive

2.  Introduction/Presence - There is no second chance at first impressions.  Make it count.  A lot of hiring decisions are made in the first few minutes, only to be validated from there.

Communicate Through Body Language

  • Be energetic - (there’s work to be done)
  • Calm, confident, and very focused on the matter.
  • Great eye contact, firm handshake, and genuine smile.
    Dress Appropriately

  • Wear a black or blue suit with a white shirt, and power tie for males
  • Turn off your cell phone BEFORE you get there
  • Dress conservatively so that what you’re wearing doesn’t distract from who you are and what you bring as a solution to their need
  • Bring a professional portfolio with a dress pen or pencil so that you can take notes
  • LISTEN EMPATHICALLY - and make sure you fully understand the content and any feelings or emotions attached to what the interviewer is communicating.

3.  Needs Analysis

                          What kind of employee is the company looking for? Ask:

    • Who is your #1 sales rep? Why is he or she so successful?
    • What are the top 3 or 4 individual characteristics that are most critical to success for this position? 
    • What are the most common early mistakes most people make?  How would you recommend avoiding them?
    • Sell yourself on the characteristics throughout the interview process
    • Interviewing Is Psychological!

4.  Presentation of Product

    Discussing your background: “Tell me about yourself?”

  • Clear - Concise - Compelling answers to all questions; ask for clarity if necessary.
  • Make sure your response flows.
  • Be prepared with specific dates and fully capable of explaining / expanding/giving detail on anything on your resume.
  • Be aware of  your decision making processes about your reasons for leaving any company, and what it says about you and your values
  • Talk about documented successes and be able to speak to the “how” and “why”.
  • Anticipate possible questions about yourself. The interviewer is asking you purposeful questions to reveal specific characteristics and/or traits about you.

5.  Objections (uncovering & overcoming)

    Uncover objections by asking, “Are there any questions or concerns you have about my background?” Or, “Is there anything I can clarify for you?”

  • “No, not at all.”– That is a good sign!
  • “No.”– It is over unless you ask! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  • “Yes, you don’t have any x,y,z experience.” — At least you know the objection.
    You might also ask:

  • “Are there any questions about my abilities or desires to be a part of your team?”
  • “Will it be your recommendation to hire me?”
  • “What are your concerns about my stepping into this role?”

6.  Close

    Deliver an energetic close. You might say,

  • “I am really excited about this opportunity, what is the next step? Where do we go from here? Is Tuesday good for you to talk?
    Never leave until you know where you stand.

  • “I can appreciate that. If I was the last person you were to interview for this position, would you bring me back for a second interview?”
    If you are last in a group to interview:

  • “Where do I rank thus far?” (Hint: If you are not #1, WHY NOT? “What do you believe the other candidate possesses that I don’t?”)
  • This can bring up another objection which you must overcome.
  • Ask for a business card before you leave (from everyone you have interviewed with).

7.  Follow-up

  • Call your recruiter.
  • Send a type-written letter to everyone you interviewed with immediately following your interview!
  • Send the letter immediately:
    • Send it via email
    • Drop it in the mail that afternoon
    • Courier the letter
    • Hand deliver
    • Fed-Ex
    • Fax
    • Every opportunity you have to communicate with the employer is a chance to separate yourself from your competition.  A great rule of thumb is the ” AND THEN SOME RULE.”   Ask yourself, “What can I do to separate myself from the competition for this job, AND THEN SOME?”   It’s the “and then some” that truly separates you 99% of the time.