By: Amy Jones
For this final installment of advice to prospective marketing researchers, I am going to assume you have followed the tips in Part I and Part II and are still in consideration with your future employer. Now we are going to focus on closing the deal.
5. Be prepared. You are essentially selling yourself, so like any good sales person, you have to anticipate objections and think about how you will overcome them. You want to be a researcher but have no experience? Bring an example of a research project you have done in school. No research project? How about a writing sample that shows critical thinking? And while you are bringing things with you, throw a couple extra resumes in that portfolio. Yes, your interviewers were given that ahead of time, but their meeting ran over and it’s at their desk and it was so smart of you to be prepared to hand them another copy.
It’s not fair, but it’s human nature: as hiring managers get closer to the end of the interview process, they may be looking for reasons to say “no.” Don’t serve up these reasons on a silver platter. I recently had a candidate show up and ask to borrow a pen for the interview. Maybe he planned to write on his hand because he also didn’t bring a notebook. I have a friend who writes notes to herself on her hand so she remembers to buy milk, etc. The candidate should have written one that reminds him to come prepared to his next interview – at another company, because it’s not going to happen here.
6. Be confident. Repeat after me: An interview is not the time to be modest. Louder, with conviction: An INTERVIEW is not the time to be MODEST!
It starts with the handshake, and this is not a gender specific issue. I have had wimpy, limp noodle handshakes from males and females — mostly young ones, truth be told. It makes me think you are not sure if you should be here. Grab my hand like you mean business. (Hint: if your palms are sweaty, discreetly dry them by smoothing your jacket or skirt while you stand up or walk toward me.) And don’t stop there. Each interviewer you meet should be looked straight in the eye while you give them a firm handshake. It exudes confidence.
Carry that confidence with you into the interview. One of the most common rejection reasons I hear is that Susie seemed really smart and nice, but she lacked confidence and we think the client/team/account manager would run over her. You might be surprised to know that we actually want someone who will push back — in a polite way, of course. (See Tact; also Diplomacy.) We want to believe that you are capable of using judgment and finding ways to solve problems. That may be underemphasized in the job description, but if everything went according to that job description, this place would be run by robots. It is your confidence in your ability to do a good job, hence, our confidence in you, that will make the difference between success and failure day in and day out.
Confidence does not come naturally for everyone. If you need to chant a self-affirmation or give yourself a slap before you enter the building, then do it! Then go close the deal.
Thanks for being a part of my therapy. Leave a comment to tell me what other topics I should blog about. Follow me @ShoeAmy on Twitter to hear about job openings, trends in marketing research and HR, fashion dilemmas and weird stuff my kids say.