How to Get the Job You Want — Selling Your Value: Part 3

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This is the third installment of my series on getting — and keeping — the job you want by selling your value. The past columns in this series can be found here.

I think of interviewing for a job as a similar methodology to meeting with a potential client to get to the next step in their process of choosing a vendor. I always research the person/company whose business I am trying to earn. The same process should be applied to the person you are meeting with and the company you want to join, regardless of the position you are applying for. Many times I have inquired with clients to find out which vendors (people/companies) they like to work with and if those entities have efficient processes, are well run and their experience with each employee of those companies.

Plus, once you get the job you want, it’s up to you to become indispensable without becoming complacent in your role.

Do Your Research

Today, there are many resources available for finding out someone’s professional history, such as LinkedIn, websites and your professional network. Many companies have information on their websites about their executive team and/or some of their employees (and obviously on the products and services the company provides to their clients). Find out if you directly or indirectly know someone at that company.

When it comes to whether or not you should disclose your employment status in an interview or meeting, it’s a matter of preference. However, whenever I was let go (a few times for completely different reasons), I told everyone I knew in case they had heard of an open position.

By the way, I am not aware of any law or rule that states you can only join companies with the same title, responsibilities and compensation as your previous employment (aka a lateral move). In my opinion, you should do almost the opposite. In the past, I had an interview with a manager who inquired about my current pay while I was still working for a similar type of company. I explained I would not leave a successful job to join a similar company in a similar position with a similar compensation. Changing companies, in my experience, is exhausting. As time goes on, you get into a sort of flow after starting a new job with a new company (learning curve when you start, then increase in efficiency and hopefully much easier than when you started, again regardless of the position and responsibilities).

Being Indispensable

One of the terms I mentioned in one of my previous columns was the idea of becoming indispensable, which takes some time as well. I have heard some company executives (within different industries) state that no one is indispensable to their company. I think that is a defensive comment in that either they don’t think they are indispensable, thus no one else could be or they do not value their employees as highly as they should.

For example, I worked with a software company many years ago, where the executive team decided to change their compensation plan for the outside sales team and the inside sales team. Any order that exceeded $100,000 (USD) would go to the outside salesperson for that territory or global enterprise account. Any order, up to $100,000, would go to the inside salesperson for that territory or global enterprise account. This quickly changed the behavior of the inside sales team. Every quote they sent out was divided into separate quotes, so each quote was under $100,000, thus each P.O. would be under $100,000. Well, it did not take long for the outside salespeople to quit. Then, in a relatively short time, that company did not have to worry about compensating their sales team; it went out of business (outside salespeople took their client relationships with them to competing companies). Thus, the outside sales team was absolutely indispensable to that company.

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Either way, when you join a company, the best approach should be to do the best job you can. I have found that meeting as many people in your company as you can (especially before you join) will help you to understand each person’s contribution to the success of the company.

Videoconferencing Interviews

I’ve worked at a number of large companies that had social gatherings by departments or divisions. Now, due to the pandemic, many people are spread out more than ever (in their own homes) and probably meet over VMR calls rather than in person. If you are interviewing with a company, it may actually be easier to meet more people within a company over video, although I believe it is more effective to meet in person. Every time I interviewed with any company that I was truly focused on joining, I would request a meeting with the CEO, director of my division, or an executive of some kind (even shortly after I joined). Understanding the thought process of those in charge of the direction of the company was critical to my success.

Complacency

To keep from becoming complacent in your role, I suggest giving yourself breaks or small rewards throughout the day. For example, after a number of continuous meetings, I may go to a coffee shop to get a latte (i.e. pumpkin spiced latte with white chocolate mocha, a shot of ristretto, oat milk with no whipped cream to make it fat-free of course) and just sit and enjoy the massive amounts of sugar and caffeine. Also, going for a walk or ride outside often helps. Finally, watching a TV show or movie is a great short-term distraction to get your mind off of roladexing (aka cycling).

The last point I want to share is a behavior that I have followed for my entire career and that is creating a business ecosystem. Your value to an employer is your experience, contacts (not just random LinkedIn connections) that you can rely on for support and your effectiveness with your responsibilities (meeting or exceeding expectations). There are three types of roles in a company, either you cost money, save money or make money for your company. Focus on the last two and you will probably last longer in your company, presuming the company supports your efforts as well.

Here is a list of helpful terms and definitions as you navigate this column.