As a former Exec for a Retailing Association I certainly know all the tricks of the trade and I definitely know how to merchandise, market and promote a product or service but now that my wife and I have put our home on the market I have come across a new term that encompasses all aspects of getting the close –Staging! Not being a frequent viewer of the HG Network I find the phrase a bit exciting because it takes in all aspects of what one needs to do to get the sale.
In a house sale, the secret is to make this now unlivable house due to all the staging, look like the ultimate livable home. We feel like the caretakers at Augusta getting the course ready for the Masters by using space heaters to force the blooming of the magnolias in early April. I can just image what is going through the Augusta minds when they see all those divots on the course that they spent months perfecting for high definition television. Of course we now find ourselves cutting the lawn on a every-other day basis so that one blade of grass doesn’t seem out of place or vacuuming the carpet almost hourly since we certainly don’t want footprints appear on that solid array of perfectly napped carpeting.
In many ways the staging of a house for sale is not much different than from staging one’s resume or even more importantly one’s achievements and talents during an interview when you are in a serious job search. There is a very thin line from promoting oneself for just the right position and being over the top and letting the world know that you are a perfect candidate for that job. You need to be careful not to overwhelm the potential employers because let’s face it – there is no such thing as the perfect candidate just as is the case that there is no such thing as the perfect position.
A job interview is an opportunity to place all your cards on the table. If you can’t be passionate about the product you are selling, namely yourself, then there will never be a more exciting product that you can sell! The interview is the forum for you to be engaged with the questioners and is a chance for you to sell your qualifications and talents. It is your task to make the interviewer’s job simple. If you can lay on the table the various reasons why you are the sole candidate to be considered for this position, then you have made the search committee’s job simple.
We have all sat through interviews, on both sides of the table where it seems like it is pulling teeth to get the candidate to participate. This is not the time to be cautious or shy. You must engage in the conversation and frankly turn the session to your behalf if you find the interviewers not prepared or not approaching the topics you believe that will show your appropriateness for the job. Like any proven politician or newsmaker, you must be prepared to have your talking points and be determined to not leave until they have been emphasized on more than one occasion.
Unlike your typical politician in an interview you best be prepared to answer the question. You can’t be evasive or not fully willing to provide information since all in the room will immediately see that you are attempting to hide your past from them. You must not embellish or state falsehoods because those as well will be noticed. Be frank and honest and always be cognizant that all eyes are on you.
You may want this session to be a friendly discussion but in more ways than not it is an interrogation. It may not be a Law and Order episode where Jack McCoy rakes you over the coals in a dark and dingy room on Riker’s Island but it is an interaction where the search committee’s role is to discover information – information that will assist them to determine whether you are the right person for this job.
Preparation and rehearsal are utmost for this give and take. You may think you are perfect for this job but if you can’t articulate the reasons why you are a perfect candidate you may not ever get the opportunity to display those talents. Remember, staging will only go so far in the selling process; everything may be clean and shiny but you still need to make the persuasive argument that this is the right house for you. I guess much can be learned from a few hours watching the House and Garden Network!
Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive who has been a CEO for 3 distinct trade associations in his distinguished career. He is one of only 230 Association Executives world-wide who has been granted the prestigious designation of Fellow by the American Society of Association Executives. He currently is between positions and has written more than 50,000 words or 85 blogs on the topics of job search and career transition. He can be contacted at: email@example.com.
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