July 23, 2024

A lot of people have a negative stigma on the term “salesman.” When we think about that word, we conjure an image of that pesky door-to-door salesman in the worn suit, trying desperately to get you to answer the door so that you listen to him for 30 seconds because he can change your life when you buy his Tupperware (Whew, that was a mouthful!)

Well, no, that’s not the way it works. In the real world, everyone is a salesperson of some kind or another, you just don’t realize it. Salespeople are good. Matter of fact, salespeople are great! They make the world go around!

So why are you a salesperson? Well, you sold your university on admitting you to their institution. You might have sold your parents on paying for it. These “sales” may not have been too difficult, but you did them anyway.

Your next big sale is to sell a company on hiring your services! The point I’m trying to make here is that you really need to prepare for your Career fair and for your interviews like you might prepare for a sales call:

Finding out what the company is looking for, what their “ideal candidate” attributes are, and then by explaining how you match those to a T.

Ask questions like:

“What kind of attributes are you looking for in your ideal candidate for this position?”

“Describe for me your ideal candidate.”

“What kinds of specific skills are you looking for?

Use these questions to get them talking, and then probe them with follow up questions for clarification and more detail as you see fit. Asking these questions will give you a great picture of what they’re looking for in the candidate they want to hire. After that, you need to “sell” them on how you match their needs.

Now that you know what recruiters look for, it’s time to talk about how you can convince them that you are their ideal college student candidate.

For some people, this may be difficult, for others, this may be easy. Something that was brought up at a conference recently was the example of an Olympic athlete who was quite nervous before competing. His coach simply said to him “this is just like we did in practice. Nothing different, just another practice.” This athlete went on to win the gold medal.

If we apply that principle to our interviewing, it’s very easy to see that a bit of planning and practice on your interview responses can make all the difference in your outcome.

Planning properly is the key to the whole game, and since you’ve already gotten the answers from your recruiters, it’s all laid out for you! With the end in mind of showing a recruiter that you have “xyz skill,” work backwards from there. If they are looking for those set of skills, what kind of questions would you anticipate them asking during an interview?

For example, if a recruiter wants to see that you are technically competent, they’ll probably ask you questions along the lines of “tell me a time you were challenged by a technical problem, and what you did to overcome it.”

If they are looking for leadership, they might ask “Tell me about a time when you showed leadership.”

Once you have a few questions you think they’ll ask lined up, then you can formulate your answers. Answers should be in the STAR format as my book discusses and shows you how to formulate.

With all of your answers, you want to make sure that every example relates somehow to the attributes they are looking for. If it doesn’t directly relate, but you still have to use it anyway, make sure you can somehow explain to the recruiter how that attribute is transferable to their position.

Now you just need to practice running through your answers a few times, and you’re all set!