The Wow Factor in Nailing Your Next Job

By Mitch Wienick, President

Let’s face it – unless you’re very well connected, or your skill and experience are as unique as a professional golfer or a concert violinist, you will be in a dogfight when nailing your next job, especially if the search is being managed by a recruiting firm being paid to bring multiple candidates to its client.

With this in mind, here are 10 ideas to generate your “wow” factor and impress the hiring executives of the company you’re targeting.

Predicting where is the industry going?

When the telecom industry was deregulated, competition significantly increased, new products and services were introduced, product and service packages proliferated, and pricing bundles changed dramatically. If you can describe what is likely to happen to an industry you’re targeting based on your prior experience and marketplace factors, and how to capitalize on it or protect against those changes, you will undoubtedly impress the people with whom you’re interviewing. For example, if you were previously in an industry that moved from highly regulated to deregulated (or the reverse), you can translate that knowledge into a powerful story to a company within an industry that is experiencing or likely to experience the same thing.

How can you help make the competition obsolete?

While Uber and Lyft may not completely eliminate the yellow cab in most cities, they have already completely changed the way many consumers secure rides. What ideas can you share during your interviews to do the same thing? While technology is often the catalyst, it may also be how one uses or executes the technology, not the technology itself. What else might you do to make your competitor obsolete?

What customer segment is willing to pay for a more advanced solution?

Luxury hotels have exploited this opportunity with wealthy travelers for years by providing high end rooms and services. Can you identify a similar opportunity – an unexploited or underexploited segment – for your target company? This is especially meaningful if you’ve done something like this in the past and can translate that success for your prospective employer.

What customers have special needs that have been overlooked?

Over the last few years, the best children’s hospitals in the U.S. have expanded their market overseas, either by treating more foreign children in the U.S. or setting up facilities overseas, often as joint ventures with a host medical system. Can you identify a similar opportunity for your target organization and make a persuasive case on how you can help make it happen? If you can, you will clearly be seen as a value creator in your interviews.

How can you better help your customers sell their customers?

Some industries have complex layered distribution chains. For example, consumer product companies sell to retailers who sell to consumers. The best consumer product companies work with retailers to help them increase store velocity and per store sales. If you can show your target company how to help its customers sell better to their customers, you have a value-added solution that shows insight and perspective that you can promote in a key interview.

How could you increase cycle time to overtake industry competitors?

While it may seem like old hat now, when Federal Express introduced overnight package delivery, it not only revolutionized its industry, it created an expectation that is only now being met by other industries more than 40 years later. What can you propose or suggest to a prospective new boss to create an increased cycle time factor that will wow the customer?

How could you help to simplify an offering to reach a much larger audience?

Today, the only Tesla vehicle consumers can purchase is the Model S which starts at $70,000, limiting its market to very affluent buyers. Tesla has publicly announced that it will be introducing a Model 3 in the next year or two at a price of $35,000, presumably to reach a much larger market. If you can explain how you can help a company do the same thing with one or more of their products or services, you can clearly differentiate yourself from your search competition.

What offerings can be priced up or monetized for the first time?

This is almost the reverse of the above. Years ago, GE manufactured and serviced its own locomotives and had a high quality reputation in doing so. The company realized that, with some added effort, they could learn how to service the competition’s locomotives and charge for doing so, giving them a whole new revenue and profit stream they didn’t have before (while going directly after their competition and reverse engineering competitive products at the same time). Have you done something like that before? Do you see an opportunity to do it now? Tell that story and wow the people who make the hiring decision.

Break your story down into simple, easy to understand but compelling components.

The smart phones we use today have more power and capability than the computers on Apollo 11 that landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. Yet, when Apple and Samsung advertise and promote their products, they don’t sell the technology. Rather, they sell the features and the benefits. You will wow your interviewers if you can tell your accomplishment stories and bring out your personal features and benefits. Use images, props, simple logic, mental models, presentations and analogies to do so. Creativity and distinctiveness grab the attention of hiring executives and decision makers during a competitive interview process.

Explain your uniqueness in a way that wows the hiring company.

When baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays was first seen by a professional scout, he was immediately described as a four tool player – he could hit, hit with power, run, and field like few others before or since. What are your four tools – why are you better, faster, more productive, or less expensive (meaning you can add more value) than your competition? If you can wow people with that story, you will get the offer and the job!