Interviewing Forever

Date posted: April 23, 2009  
Filed under: Communications, Interviewing, Leadership, Networking

OMG, you say? Interviewing forever? I thought that only happened when I need a job?

Wrong. Sorry. The dynamics of interviewing exist all the time: When there is a need, or at least a perceived need, someone needs to fill it. Someone needs to know it. Someone needs to present the solution and convince the decision maker to take the next step. That someone can be you!

If you look at it this way, interviewing, in its stripped- down essence, is about helping the other person make a decision, based on a need and feel safe about it. Whether it be your boss, your cohort or your direct report, they need to see the value in making a decision that will make a difference in the way things are done, have to be done, need to be done. The trick is for you to do a few things so that a decision-maker will see and seek out your value.

So interviewing is influencing the other to feel comfortable with making a wise decision. I call it “ Idea-Influencing. “

In order to become a good “perpetual interviewer” you need to learn the essence of influencing.

The way to influence others is to spark interest. You need to know who you are and what your value is, who your audience is, do they know or think they know what needs to be done and your ability to get people thinking about your suggestion as real possibilities.

First, what is your value? Are you the promoter or protector type? Do you increase sales or reduce risk? How does your boss see you as valuable? How does your team see you or your direct reports? Are you seen as steady and reliable? Are you perceived as a rainmaker or a trouble shooter? What are the perceptions that others have of you? It’s important to think about that and know, so that when you begin formulating your “idea influencing” conversation, it will be highlighting your value and connecting to their needs.

Second, you need to know what their needs are, as perceived by the decision maker, not just you. If you see a need and they do not, your work will be to turn their viewpoints towards change and possibilities. Ideas in your head are not enough. The decision maker needs to feel that you resonate with their ideas/ styles/their concerns and worries and desires.

Third, the plan and project results have to be clear. If you just presenting an idea, then formulate it clearly. If you are initially interested in just sparking interest at the moment, such a presentation would be quite different than if you were ready to present a full scale business plan for opening up markets in Asia.

Fourth, budget of money, time and resources. Show that you have really researched this idea with statistics, budgets, contingencies and human as well as capital resources.

Now, once you have put that all together, idea influencing can be made much easier by answering the following 5 questions.

1. What is the need?
2. What is your value?
3. What is the plan?
4. What is the budget?
5. How do I best present the idea in ways the other person needs to see and hear it?

Next we will talk about how to “Idea Influence” with different types of individuals.

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