By: Ron Venckus
Why Perfect-Fit Applicants Often Don’t Get the Job
Have you ever heard someone say, “This is the perfect job for me,” and then tack on, “but I don’t know how to sell myself”? The chasm between these two statements approaches the size of the Grand Canyon.
As you think about those two extremes, the first thing that should strike you is how do they (you) know it is the perfect job, if they (you) don’t know what/who they (you) are selling? This is a crucial line of thought and it can be a real challenge if the job seeker allows it to be. Let’s look at a process.
Many times we hear people say, “this job is a perfect fit,” but in reality, very few offers result from that perfect-fit thinking. Why? Well it could be that the fit was so perfect that the applicant forgot to sell how and why they were such a perfect fit.
The other reason “perfect fit” applicants seldom receive offers is because over 90% of the time, the position described in the posted job description is not for the skill level or competencies that the company is ultimately seeking to fill. However, if you manage your interview correctly, the interview dynamics you create, skill level you present, and post-interview contemplation you elicit, will often cause a company to re-think their ideas about what a “perfect fit” is for that position, or even their company.
Selling the Perfect Fit
Bottom line, when you are invited in for the face-to-face interview (F2F), a large portion of your success is already in place due to preliminary communications. Why? Because prior to being called in for an F2F interview, you have already engaged in conversations and possible multiple phone interviews. Therefore, some kind of selling took place.
A word of caution though: You must expand that preliminary success into an offer. Your objective now is to elaborate on who you are and show the prospective employer how you will impact the job, the organization, and why your unique combination of technical skills and behavioral competencies match and exceed their needs and expectations.
Don’t despair! The “perfect fit” challenge can be solved. The road map to success is right in front of you and there are 3 essential keys to get you through the interview.
1) The first key is knowing that every action word on your resume (road map) will need a “sales package” of comments to go with it. Your resume contains all kinds of descriptors about you. As you look at each descriptor, think of what you are going to say when asked about it. Take a common introduction such as “highly experienced!” Great, so now what are you going to say (sell) as to why you chose “highly experienced” as an introduction, or why you selected the words “highly effective leader”? You must be good or you would not have chosen those specific words. What are you going to say to prove it?
2) The second key to the interview road map is the job description; it too is made up of various action words or phrases. Let’s take a generally used position description for a manager’s job: “Assure attainment of business objectives.” Map out why and how you can obtain objectives. All this takes is a combination of thinking through how you used your technical skills, personal traits and behavioral competencies in each situation. Each of your personal skills, experiences and business situations can be used to develop a great story that completes a picture of you.
3) The third key is the company’s web site. One company stated they had a “highly effective management team… built on high integrity.” Wow! That is a double whammy. So, what are you going to say to show that you can function as part of a highly effective team? What makes you more effective than other candidates they might consider? To be a part of a team “built on high integrity,” you must be able to sell your integrity level. What story will you use to drive that home to them in an interview?
For a more in-depth look at these three keys, read , “Prepare Yourself and Get Hired.”
Deciphering the Map
When you look at a job description, you see action words like: Ensure, Design, Direct, Plan, Assure, and Establish, among many key words. Those are action words that are a reflection of their needs. The hiring company has given you the road map and your job is to follow it and then guide them through the bogs by using your action words and stories so they conclude that you are the “perfect fit.”
Sometimes you need to read between the lines. What is being said and why could they be saying it? Allow yourself to explore at a greater depth how your thinking and your actions might address these “hidden” skills that are being sought. Let your thoughts go to a skill level a tad higher than where you are now. YES, YOU CAN GO THERE! When you do this you will be ready to go with the flow of the interview; you will pick up on changes and be ready to address them while in the process of the interview itself. In the end, you will be able to demonstrate that you are their “perfect fit.”
When you use the road map, the pieces of the puzzle properly fit together and the offer will be yours. This absolutely requires you to do some deep thinking about yourself. However, our clients tell us that the process of discovery is really gratifying. Discovering how great you are can be its own reward.
One other thought… listed above are some action words from a resume like Ensure, design, direct, etc. Don’t be afraid to say, “I” ensure success by; the use of “I” is not a sin. The interview is about you, the “I” – it is not about “we”! Yes, you will talk about how the ‘I’ guided the “we” to success by ensuring, etc., however you are the focus of this conversation.
These road maps are effective for any level of job. All you have to do is to use them. It really can be a lot of fun discovering the real reasons why you are the perfect fit.