4 – Take strong initiatives in your first interview
The fourth principle is to take strong initiatives in your first inter- view. Remember, your initial communication held out the promise of a benefit. What are your ideas? Why do you think they’ll work? Do you understand the company’s problems and opportunities?
Address these areas, but always remember to convey humility. Acknowledge that the interviewer has a better grasp of the problems facing the company than you could possibly have; this will help build positive rapport. There are any number of simple phrases you might use. For example, you might say:
“I hope you didn’t find my letter too presumptuous. No doubt you’ve already given a lot of consideration to these areas.” Or… “I took a calculated risk in telling you I could cut manufacturing costs. I recognize that every company is unique, and what works well in one may not work so easily in another.” Or… “I’m sure you’ve talked to many people who thought they knew your business better than you do. I don’t mean to come across that way. I have a number of ideas, but let me first pay you the courtesy of listening to your opinion on these areas.”
Comments like these set the stage for a cordial exchange of ideas. They can allow you to do the three things you need to accomplish in your first meeting: learn what the employer really wants, build rapport and focus the employer’s attention on the areas where you can help.
Your first goal is to find out how the employer views the problem. What does he see as the key challenges? What is the “hot button”? What are the priorities as the employer sees them? Have attempts been made in the past? And how much progress has already been made? By asking a few questions and listening carefully, you will find out what the employer really wants. You will also be building rapport. Make sure you maintain a balanced conversation. Ask questions and make positive comments in response to the interviewer’s remarks.
Most important, try to get the employer to share his innermost thoughts. Try to surface his vision for the organization. Only when he starts to think about this and the significant achievements he might realize, would he consider the possibility of creating a job. If you are able to accomplish the above in the first interview, that is enough. State that you would like to give things some further thought and then clarify the benefits you might bring to the situation.
Show your enthusiasm and get agreement that a second interview would be worthwhile. If you’ve done these things, you’re well on your way to having a job created for you. Remember, in your second interview you must reinforce your value by drawing an unusually clear picture of the benefits you can bring. Then you need to build enough enthusiasm to get an offer or be asked to speak with others.