Interview Like a Champion, Part 2

The “Non-Salesy” Approach to Interviewing


Now all I need to do is convince them to hire me!” said Joe. After struggling for months to navigate the company’s Applicant Tracking Software (ATS), and working to make connections inside the company, Joe was excited to have an interview at last.


interview like a champion - part 2Armed with insights on the company, in-depth competitive intelligence, and the skills required to solve their most vexing problems, Joe was ready to sell, sell, sell.


Not so fast.


Why do you suppose it’s a bad idea for Joe to go into the interview with a sales mentality? Could his attempts to convince the interviewer to hire him possibly backfire?


How “The Petrovsky Effect” Could Kill the Interview


In my experience, approaching the interview as a sales mission typically creates what I call the Petrovsky Effect*. The Petrovsky Effect looks something like this:


Imagine the hiring manager folding his arms over his chest in a defensive posture, eyes narrowed in suspicion as he thinks, “Oh yeah? You’re going to have to convince me.” His defenses are now up, and anything you say, no matter how cleverly worded, will be met with skepticism and doubt.


How did you feel the last time a sales person tried to sell you something you didn’t want? If his methods were slick, inauthentic, or pushy, how did you react? It is likely your guard went up, and from that moment on, everything he said rang false in your ears.


Because so many of us have “head trash” about sales people in general, it is difficult at best to overcome this automatic reaction once we take the salesy approach.


Throw all notions of traditional selling out the window.


What if, instead, you could come across as:

  • Completely “non-salesy”
  • Authentic and a great listener
  • Someone who asks common sense, insightful questions
  • A professional who genuinely cares about the right fit for all parties

What Joe needed to do was establish trust, build rapport, and conduct an authentic discovery of the hiring manager’s greatest concerns. He needed to explore the potential culture and technical fit.


In other words, Joe needed to throw all notions of traditional selling out the window. But how? Even if you are concerned (as Joe was) that asking questions might end the interview process, there are steps you can take to master the interview process.


I have developed a simple guide to help you navigate the interview process step-by-step, complete with ideas on what to say in nearly any stage of the interview. The guide presents ideas that are authentic, non-salesy, and have changed the game for so many of my clients at all levels and across industries.


For a free download, send an email to Kathleen with the subject line: The No-Selling Approach to Interviewing

*The Petrovsky Effect: 
A term coined by members of the 8 O’clock Career Club. It describes the defensive attitude demonstrated so effectively by Bill Petrovsky in our mock interview sessions whenever the “interviewee” presented a traditional sales approach.
Stay tuned for more tools and resources to help you interview like a champion.