Posted by: doug308 | February 25, 2011

Sell The Sizzle. Not The Steak

Have you ever seen a TV commercial for a steakhouse? Did you notice that the image is always of a big juicy steak searing over an open fire, there’s all sort of sizzling noises, and the words are all about why their beef is better than anyone else’s? You know why? Because if all they did was show a picture of the building and had a narrator saying “We have good meat! Come and get some!” the place would be empty. And that my friends, is Sales 101.

So, why would Dougtheheadhunter bother to bring this up? Because the same thing applies when you are interviewing or hiring. Think about it. If you are a hiring manager and you need to hire, let’s say an Operations Manager. So you start bringing folks into interview. The first guy in the door shows up in a wrinkled polo shirt and khakis and when you ask him why he would be a good fit for the position he says; “Because I managed operations at the last company I worked at”. Okay, that’s great and everything but so what? The guy wouldn’t be sitting there if he wasn’t already an Operations Manager. Now the next guy comes in wearing a nice suit and tie and gets the same question. Only he responds by saying; “Well, I have researched your company and found that your methods of operations and corporate structure are very similar to what I am doing now. So, functionally I should be able to hit the ground running. As well, the sort of work environment you described is just the sort of thing I am looking for!” Now ask yourself who made the better presentation?

Now flip it over for a second. Suppose you’re interviewing for a job, you ask your interviewer about why he/she stays with the company and the answer you get is; “Well, they treat me okay and the check is always good”. Wow! That’s really attractive, huh? But the next place you interview says “Well, it really is a close knit group of people. The company has always shown me a great deal of respect and we have a great reputation for ethics and service in the marketplace!”

See where I am going here? Interviewing is not just about filling out the forms and blandly answering the questions put to you. It’s about making a human connection with people. It’s about adjectives and adverbs. Remember, people like people who like them. Just having an open job and being willing to talk to someone isn’t enough to attract the really good talent. Even if you’ve got the best company in the market, if you can’t present it in a way that creates interest no one is going to know. Conversely you can be the best person in the world at what you do and someone else will get hired instead of you because they were better able to match their skills, interests and personality to what the company wanted and looked more polished than you. So take the title of this entry to heart folks. “Sell the sizzle. Not the steak.”


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