Not getting hired? Be less rational.

9 months ago I went back to full time recruiting while coaching on the side. I didn’t really need any extra convincing, but managing a couple dozen hires during that time has confirmed what I have been teaching job seekers for 4 years…

THE primary lesson job seekers (or sellers of anything) need to learn if they want to break that invisible barrier and get a job offer…

Buying is emotional.

In fact, most of my ‘paper sales mentors’ say that the only true reason people buy is to eliminate pain. If there’s no pain, or if your product doesn’t obviously address that pain, or if you can’t get to the pain in your sales process, you’re out of luck.

You can talk, write, market, network, brand, educate, pitch or do any of a hundred different marketing activities until you collapse in a blue heap on the floor, but you ain’t gonna sell often or consistently.

The person who hires an employee is a buyer of professional services. Before hiring you, the manager you hope to work for MUST:

  • Be experiencing: I’m surprised constantly how many companies and managers hire without identifying the core problems at hand, but they do. The easiest way to ‘sell yourself’ is to find someone who has a problem that causes them either pain, fear or the desire for some specific gain. If you’re selling to someone who has pain, they will be drastically more willing to engage in a discussion of a solution.
  • And reveal: most job seekers and sales people have it all backward. During the course of the selling process, it’s not about YOU figuring the problem out, it’s about THEM feeling safe enough to share with you the issue they are trying to solve. Even if you’re 100% right about the problem, you miss a critical moment of willing movement toward you as a solution if you can’t get them to open up and tell you.
  • A problem with potential personal risk: the way people express their personal attachments to a problem is by projecting the impact on themselves. If you can’t get them to talk about the needs behind the job so that you understand what’s personally at stake for them (good or bad), you haven’t connected yet. And yes, it’s ALWAYS personal. Even if they’re a manager or executive and the job is critical for the team or company, their decision will be based on their personal emotions and needs.

Once you connect with someone, then they’ll want to line up the facts rationally. In many cases, they line those rational facts up to support the emotional decision they’ve already made. But if you don’t connect emotionally, all the rational evidence in the world won’t help you market or sell more effectively.

Get to the problem. Stop being general about it and get focused and specific about the kinds of pain you can help solve. Then figure out how to sell in a way that gets the other person to ‘reveal’ that pain.

I see it work every day as a recruiter. I see job seekers who choose to stay rational and vanilla who are easily dismissed.

And I see job seekers who ask the right questions, sympathize with the answers, help the manager see and confirm the best facts that synch up with the emotional need.

The latter are the ones that get hired.

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