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3 Ways Job Applicants Should Act Like Salespeople

Image: job applicants like salespeople

Are you comfortable selling something?

If I ask that question to a large group of people, chances are that not everyone will answer yes. You may wonder why selling would be an important skill for you to have if you aren't interested in being a salesperson. However, when you interview, you are proving to the employer you are the perfect fit for their company, right? Well, every interview is, in essence, a sales call, and the product you're selling is yourself. Here are three ways to help you make that sale in your next interview.

1. Treat the interview like a conversation.

An interview can be intimidating, for sure. But it all comes down to perception. Do you view the interview as an interrogation or a discussion? It can be easy to feel like you are being interrogated; the "spotlight" is on you, and everything you say or do is being watched and judged. Slip out of that spotlight by approaching the situation more as a conversation in which you are discussing you as a potential candidate for the company. In AIU's Serious Talk Webinar "Who's Getting Hired and Why," Tom Latourette, a managing partner at sales management and training company M3 Learning, reminded viewers, "The folks that we see that really stand apart are the ones that really treat the interview process as a conversation." So take a deep breath, relax, and have a friendly discussion. It can make all the difference.

2. Show how you're the best fit to address their specific needs.

So just how do you know what the employer is looking for? Maybe you aren't quite sure. It is common for job applicants to forget about one thing that is offered to us: the job posting – the very thing that lists qualifications, responsibilities and requirements for each position. Knowing that information is powerful, and it helps you know what to discuss in your interview. Since you have the information, now you can "treat the interview as if it's a sales call," as Latourette recommends in the webinar, and show the employer why you are the best fit!

3. Ask the right questions.

It is important to realize that you are interviewing the potential employer just as much as they are interviewing you. Come prepared with questions, and make sure they cannot be answered by simply going onto the company website or looking at the job posting. Think about the information you seriously would like to know, such as any obstacles you may face in the position, whether professional development is available, and even what attributes the right candidate for the job will have. Stay away from questions about salary, benefits or job schedule.

While treating an interview like a sales call may not come naturally, taking this approach can really help you stand out against other applicants. So do what it takes to focus on making the sale: have a conversation, ask solid questions, and take the time to prepare reasons why they should hire you over your competition.

Interested in more posts on job search-related topics? Check out our Career Development blog.

If you're a current AIU student or alumnus looking for more career advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 877-221-5800 Option 5 or at