Interviewing: What type of car salesman are you?

There are two things (hopefully) that every person will encounter in their life (among a million other things, but we’ll focus on these two for now).

  1. Interviewing for a job
  2. Buying a (used) car

What do these two things have in common, you ask?  I’m glad you asked, let me tell you why.

Imagine yourself walking into a car dealership to buy a brand new Audi A6 sedan.  You’re going to encounter 1 of 2 car salesman.

  • The skeezy car salesman
  • The non-skeezy car salesman
  • (let’s just imagine that there are a few car salesman that aren’t skeezy, please)

Scenario 1:
The skeezy car salesman walks up to you and says, “You like that Audi A6 huh?  That’s a $60,000 car brand new fully loaded – want to go on a test drive?”.  You eagerly accept the keys and venture out onto your test drive.  During this test drive, all you can think about now is, “wow, this car is awesome .. but it’s $60,000 .. that’s spendy”.  You’re spending the entire test drive trying to justify the cost of this car and why you should buy it.

Scenario 2:
The non-skeezy car salesman walks up to you and says, “You like that Audi A6 huh?  Here’s the keys, let’s go for a drive”.  You eagerly accept the keys and venture out onto the busy street in the car of your dreams.  The non-skeezy salesman tells you about the awesome AWD properties of Audi, and how this model has the prestige package, and this and that.  You end back at the dealership, the non-skeezy salesman asks you what you think, and all you can say is, “TAKE MY MONEY, PLEASE!”.

A true car salesman will never tell you how much the car is worth (even when you ask sometimes) because they want you to justify the cost of this vehicle in your head.  You may finish your test drive and tell yourself that you’d be willing to spend $80k on this piece of luxury, and when they say it’s only going to cost you $60k, you’re getting a deal, right?

Same goes for interviewing.

Now, imagine yourself sitting down for an interview of your dream job, it’s going to go 1 of 2 ways.

  1. You talk about salary/compensation at the beginning
  2. You talk about salary/compensation at the end

Scenario 1:
You sit down for an interview and right off the bat, you tell them (whether they asked or not) how much you’re looking for in terms of compensation.  You finish your interview, you feel confident you rocked it, they enjoyed you, you guys shake hands, and now the waiting game starts for the next step.

Scenario 2:
You sit down for an interview and right off the bat, you tell them why you’d be the right fit for this position and for the team/company.  You explain that because of XYZ skills and ABC attributes, they will make you an asset to the team.  You then tell them that you’re looking for $60,000 in compensation, you shake hands, and now the waiting game starts for the next step.

Which scenario do you think it’s going to render better results?

If you answered Scenario 2, you are correct!  In scenario 2, just like with purchasing a car, you’ve justified the value of yourself to your potential employer.  They could have been expecting you to say $80,000 but now feel like they’re getting a deal at $60,000 because you did your job selling yourself.

At the end of the day, it’s not about the amount of money that a company is willing to pay, it’s how much they feel you’re worth to them.

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