In the back of their mind, your interviewer is asking themselves: Why should I hire this person?
When you’re sitting in front of your interviewer, they’re asking themselves several questions:
• Will this person fit in with the current team?
• What will my boss, and the current team, think of my hiring this person?
• Can this person hit the ground running?
• Is this person manageable?
• Is this person a flight risk?
An interview is a sales meeting. If you hope to make the sale (get hired) as the seller (job seeker), you’re going to need to provide several benefits why the buyer (the employer) should buy what you’re selling (your skills, experiences, ability to obtain results).
Every professional salesperson knows the adage, “Features tell, benefits sell.” Numbers, whether your results (revenue generation, process improvement), savings (money, time), increasing profit margins, reducing inventory shrinkage – whatever results you achieved for your employer that positively impacted their bottom-line – are the benefits (you’re able to achieve results) of hiring you.
In the business world, numbers are king. Numbers are how success and failure are quantified. (e.g., profit vs. loss, customer satisfaction scores, monetary savings, retention rate, share value increasing or decreasing, percentage of market share) Therefore, when selling yourself, you need to be talking numbers – the language of business. As much as possible, use numbers to quantify your skills, experience, and, most importantly, your results. You want to give your prospective employer a semblance of what can expect from you – what their ROI from hiring you will probably be.
Providing numbers that quantify has many benefits when it comes to selling yourself.
• Gives credibility
• Paints a clear picture of your previous work environment and your results.
• Numbers have an equivalency of being tangible. Numbers aren’t merely your opinions. (Employers hire to achieve results. They don’t hire opinions.)
• Offers a sense of what ROI the employer can expect from you.
There’s a huge difference between a candidate who says, “I’m a team player.” versus “For 6 years I was part of a team of 8 inside sales reps collectively responsible for reaching an annual sales target of $15 million. Last year I exceeded my sales target of $1.875,000 by 20%, ending the year with $2,250,000 in sales. The average medical device Medicado sells for around $1,500, which means I sold approximately 150 medical devices.”
Which candidate gives a better picture regarding what an employer can expect from them as an employee:
Candidate A: “I took calls from customers.”
Candidate B: “I took on average 50 to 80 calls daily from existing Wonka Industries customers. I’d say approximately 40% of the calls were complaints, which I would rectify. However, the other 60% of the calls were from customers looking to know more about Wonka’s products lines. These calls were a chance for me to sell the caller on our many product offerings rather than for the caller to go to our competitors. Last year I sold over $2.6 million, which was the highest sales out of 15 CSRs in my call centre.”
How about this comparison:
Candidate A: “I was the top salesperson for my division for 3 years.”
Candidate B: “In 2018, 2019 and 2020, I was the top salesperson for Pinkbridge’s Quebec and Atlantic provinces region, which comprised of 5 salespeople. I had to make good use of my French speaking skills. In the fourteen years I was with Pinkbridge, there wasn’t a year when I didn’t exceed my sales quota by less than 30%. Last year I brought in $9.3 million in direct revenue.”
You can see how using numbers greatly enhances how your interviewer can envision your achievement(s) and the expected results you’d bring to the business. This is how you sell yourself!
It goes without saying, without a healthy revenue stream, a business will not exist; therefore, the only number that counts in business is revenue. So, as much as possible, quantify how the results you achieved for your previous employers impacted their bottom line. This can be in the way of revenue generation, savings or process improvements that enhance productivity.
Here’s a tip: When wrapping up your next interview, say something along the lines of, “As my resume indicates, I did over $5.5 million in revenue (or insert whatever results you achieved) for JBonded Inc. I know I can do the same for Rivertronics.”
Using numbers is how you answer the interviewer’s question: Why should I hire this person?
Nick Kossovan, a seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape in Canada, offers advice on searching for a job. Send him your questions at email@example.com.