In a previous post, I spoke to Rob Mendez, who educates audiences on Guerrilla Marketing strategies for jobseekers and helps them understand the phases of a relationship with a recruiter. There will be several touch points as a company evaluates how well a candidate fits its needs. And each touch point will require different kinds of communication.
The process is similar to any product sales cycle and goes through similar phases. The first is the passive research phase; you may not even know you’re being considered. Your LinkedIn profile is your passive marketing tool, and if it’s doing its job, it will attract views and generate interest. An effective LinkedIn profile is like a well-written catalog description. A strong headline and great photo draws the reader in. Then a brief description hits the high points: the problem this product will solve, the benefits the product brings, or the way owning this product will make you feel.
A great catalog description also offers some specifics so you can make an informed decision: materials, dimensions, where and how the product was made. Your LinkedIn profile offers specifics as well: degrees, certifications, years of experience, special skills you have. By now, a prospective buyer has both your big picture value and details about how well you fit the job requirements.
The next phase of the sales cycle is qualifying the prospect. When a recruiter initiates contact, she’ll give you some basics about an opportunity and determine whether it’s worth her time – and yours – to continue the conversation. Your job, during this phase, is to see if you and the company have enough common ground to pursue a relationship. Factors you’ll have to test include whether the job is a move up for you or simply lateral, the salary range, and whether the duties match your current skill set and your future goals.
Once you agree to interview, the real discussion begins. Mendez says that there are three things a company tries to determine during the interview process:
- Can you do the job?
- Do you want to do the job?
- Are you a good cultural fit for the team and the company?
You’ll also need to know the answer to those questions, so research will be the key to finding information (and presenting it during your interviews.) One Guerrilla Marketing technique Rob Mendez recommends is finding an inside source in the company through LinkedIn. Your contact will be a valuable source of information and may even become a champion for you with the hiring manager.
Mendez has used this tactic himself, so he knows how powerful it can be. He once considered applying for a position in a company and searched LinkedIn for the person who had formerly held that job. He was able to find him, contact him by phone at his new job, and have a conversation about the position, the company, and the working environment. Based on what he learned, he decided not to pursue the opportunity. he gained was invaluable in determining his interview strategy.
During the interview process, you’ll be presenting features and benefits and overcoming objections (both the company’s and yours.) That’s a sign that you’re getting close to closing. The close includes coming to terms: salary, benefits, bonus structure, start dates and other details. This is a big decision, so both parties are protected by getting the terms in writing.
Understanding the sales cycle will help you plan effective communication for each touch point. It will also take some of the mystery out of the process of finding your next job.
Do you have a great question you use to qualify a prospective employer? Let me know by leaving a comment.