Whatever the company or sector, your ability to sell yourself is essential in any interview. To prepare, take a leaf from top marketers’ books and get your strategy ready in order to sell the most highly desirable product of all: yourself.
Your CV has managed to bag you that all-important interview, and now you’ve got to get the personal touch right in the short space of an interview. The “elevator pitch” is an imaginary scenario in which you have up to two minutes enclosed in a lift with an important person you need to convince of your business proposal. It’s often used in sales and marketing as a device to practice getting your proposition across quickly and effectively.
Giving a good impression at interviews using the elevator pitch
In reality, finding yourself accidentally trapped in a lift with a superior, CEO or potential investor of a major company and venturing out to talk to them sounds like something from Hollywood. And if you actually dared to do this, the chances that you’d really impress them with a monologue prepared in advance are slim. However, having a pitch ready can nevertheless be of great value. If you have clear in your own mind why something is valuable, you will also be able to convince others if you pick the right moment and use the right technique.
The idea of “pitching” originates from the advertising sector. As well as the elevator pitch, here we’ve also recommended some other advertising concepts which could be useful to adapt to an interview situation.
Master your interview skills with the following concepts
Pitching – In the advertising industry, agencies stick their necks out and risk time and money to propose campaigns to potential clients. Several agencies are usually commissioned at the same time, so they need to outdo the other candidates. This is actually a parallel situation to an interview. Calculate your chances and be aware of the competition. If there is something which other competitors would be unable to demonstrate in the same way as you?
AIDA – The AIDA concept, which is considered to be slightly outmoded in marketing circles, stands for: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. You already have your interviewers’ attention, because you were invited to the job interview. Now you need to continue to build on the interest your application sparked! Before the interview, analyse the company’s requirements and critically assess which you fulfil unconditionally and where there may be potential deficits. If the overall picture is right, then the company is likely to act accordingly, and you have a good chance of being appointed.
Push and pull factors– turn the tables on them! The push and pull strategy is actually used in consumer research, but is also equally as useful in your preparations. Your future employer has the following challenge: To fill the open position with an Individual who is competent, likable and affordable, will stay with the business for a long time and fits in with the company. Candidates invited to the interviews usually fulfil these criteria, as this is what “pushed” them towards the company in the first place (on the basis of their resume, cover letter or passing assessment centre tests). Naturally, you also need to meet these criteria at the interview, but you can also build on them. At the same time, your application made the employer curious sothey want to get to know you personally. The pull mechanisms, your personality and individual skills, can therefore also come into play during the interview. Try to come across as genuine and be clear about why you want the job and should get it.
Emotional vs. rational approach – you should also understand that your application and you as a person have both emotional and rational appeal. According to advertising psychology, campaigns should only be based on one of the two approaches, either emotional or rational. Does this also apply to job interviews? Of course not. However, it is interesting that emotional and rational messages are processed by different areas of the brain and the listener needs greater concentration to jump back and forth between the different areas. During the interview, this means one thing in particular: If you want to be subjectively or cognitively convincing, you should use logical and well-founded arguments. During small talk and when discussing personal matters, you can be more heartfelt and passionate. The emotional appeal also creates a better atmosphere and has the benefit of smoothing over any professional shortcomings, which is not easy to achieve the other way round.
With these tips in mind, prepare yourself a small elevator pitch before your interview. What would you say went down well?