If you are an executive searching for a new position, you may have heard that searching for a job is a sales process. Let’s examine this for a moment.
You are the product – when searching for another job opportunity, your skills, talents, accomplishments and experience become the product that a potential employer is “buying.”
You should know what the buyer needs, what they care about, what they lose sleep over, and how soon do they need it to eliminate their pain. So, as the executive job seeker (the product in this case), you need to know your market, the same as any sales professional.
When in an interview or speaking with a recruiter or hiring manager from a potential company, your leverage is how you can help them with their challenges. What is your unique value and knowledge that will add to their executive team?
If you don’t know the problems, you can’t position yourself as a solution. It’s like selling ice to an Eskimo in winter. What they really might need is clothing to protect them from the severe weather, or tools to hunt for food, and shelter to keep out the wind and cold. You’ve really missed the “problem or pain” trying to sell ice. Be cautious not to focus on the wrong product – get to know your market so you can sell the highlights of your career background that match the needs of the company.
If you don’t know what they care about, you might not approach the problem with the right solution. The company may care deeply about recycling and delivering an environmentally friendly product. If you don’t know this, suggesting a solution that doesn’t align with this, that might endanger the environment or have elements in it that do not match the company’s environmental goals, can jeopardize your chances of a future with this company.
If you don’t know their timeline, you might deliver a program that is too time intensive. For example, the company needs to clean up a waste issue and has only 30 days to do so before being fined. Your solution may require 45 days to complete – you’ve just shot yourself in the foot. Ask questions – get to know the timeline requirements.
Employers will put you on the spot to see how you react, solve problems, and deliver a solution. Most companies are looking for leaders that will fit their company culture, blend well with their existing executive team and employees, and embrace the company mission and values.
Start building your knowledge of the company, its products, and its employees before you consider submitting your resume for a position. The more you know, the better you can focus on what skills, talents, and experience position you as the best executive candidate for the role.