When confronted with a liability, we may become defensive or argumentative. However, no one sells anything while they are arguing. You need to have a valid answer when an objection is raised.
Our "ARTS" Approach is a Process for Overcoming Objections
The letters stand for the following:
- A - Acknowledge the objection.
- R - Redirect the person's concern.
- T - Test to be sure you've removed the concern.
- S - Use a story to make your point.
Whenever someone raises an objection, the tension level rises. What you want to achieve in step one is to reduce the tension level.
A - Acknowledge the objection. "I can understand your concern. It is certainly something we should discuss, and I would like to address it for you." Or "You're very perceptive, and you've raised an interesting point. It deserves some frank discussion." The phrases are not so important - it's the feeling you impart. You haven't gotten flustered. You have acted in a reassuring way; it's clear that you feel secure about your abilities in the area.
R - Redirect their concern. Going further, here is an example of redirecting the person's concern: "What qualities are you looking for in an ideal candidate that prompted this concern?" Let's say the interviewer raised the fact that your experience was in a different industry. Now, you can't do too much about that, but you probably can show that you are someone who contributes quickly (e.g. "When you raise that question, I understand that you want to be sure the person you put in this job is someone who will contribute quickly. Isn't that it?") The interviewer will reaffirm that you are indeed correct. With just a little thought, it is easy to refocus the conversation toward the positive qualities that are really on the interviewer's mind.
T - Use a testing question to see if you have removed their concern. Here is an example of asking a testing question: "If I could show that I could contribute quickly, even when learning new information, would that help?" After you get a positive response, you have the option of going directly to your answer, or you can introduce one of your key strengths. You might say: "If I could show you that I work well under pressure, might that ease your concern somewhat?"
S - Use a supporting story to confirm your point. The final thing to do is to use a supporting story as part of your answer, ending it with a question that will keep the conversation positive. Remember, what really counts is the fact that you did not get flustered. If you've done it right, interviewers won't be that concerned about your exact answer. They'll be thinking, "This person handled that situation very well."
Other Key Basics for Interviewing
- Dress to impress, but conservatively. Always present a good image in a professional manner. Avoid arriving more than seven minutes early. If you are kept waiting too long, excuse yourself. At lunch take your cue on drinks. Avoid smoking, and never pose a threat to a philosophical position.
- Never read mail on someone's desk or look at your watch. Avoid discussions on religion or politics. Never be a braggart and rarely name-drop. Also, don't criticize past employers, and never apologize for liabilities. Never be negative about anything!
- Don't let an interview carry on too long. When a discussion peaks, diplomatically lead to an end of the meeting. Never linger afterwards.
- Emphasize recent experiences, use recent stories and project diversified interests and a strong work ethic. There will always be questions for which you can't have answers. Don't let it bother you.
- Never invoke confidentiality. Don't be controlling. Keep your eye on body language and react accordingly. Read between the lines. Find a way to answer questions that should have been asked, but were not!
- Follow-up every interview with a enthusiastic letter that emphasizes why you are "good fit."
Our "Iceberg Approach" Is Another Way to Overcome Objections
When dealing with sensitive issues, you want to remain atop the iceberg, well removed from the possibility of drowning! If challenged, you want to relinquish as little information as possible - just small slices off the top. The key to making this approach work is projection; positive, non- defensive and non-evasive. For example, consider the case in which you had been terminated. The sequence might proceed as follows:
Charles, are you unemployed? (First slice) Why, yes I am. I left ABC in June. Why were you terminated? (Second slice) My position was eliminated in a corporate reorganization. Why were you let go? (Third slice) In today's economy, good jobs in retrenchment situations are difficult to find. In my case, I was offered a position, but since I'd prefer to move forward, rather than laterally, I elected to seek a new challenge outside the firm.
Note that all the statements are brief, positive, with no recriminations. They do not drift!
Questions You Need to be Prepared to Answer
If you want to be at your best, be sure to have answers prepared to these commonly asked questions. Any that you are uncertain about should be checked and brought up with our staff at our marketing plan presentation.
- Why did you join your present firm?
- Why are you leaving?
- How would you evaluate your present firm?
- Have you managed people before?
- What are your capabilities that will help us?
- What major challenges have you faced?
- Have you fired people before?
- What references can you give us?
- Does your employer know you are looking?
- Why have you stayed so long?
- Describe a typical day in your job.
- What areas of your job do you enjoy?
- How do you feel about your previous moves?
- Which previous jobs did you enjoy the most?
- How well do you handle pressure?
- What do you look for when you hire people?
- What do you think of your ex-boss?
- Why haven't you found a job so far?
- How does the firm view your performance?
- What types of controls do you use?
- Which areas of your work have been criticized?
- Can you work independently?
- Can you fit in an unstructured environment?
- How have you helped reduce costs?
- What decisions do you delegate?
- What was your greatest accomplishment?
- Describe your management style.
- How effective are you as a motivator?
- How strong is your financial situation?
- What people do you admire?
- What work environment are you looking for?
- What interests you most about our position?
- What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
- Would you classify yourself as a leader?
- How would others describe your work ethic?
- How do you handle confrontation?
- What is your current compensation?
- How often have you had raises?
- What do you think you are worth?
- Why does your compensation seem so low?
- What would you like to be earning in two years?
- What were your highest earnings?
- What are the key reasons for your success?
- Who are your closest friends? What do they do?
- How often have you been absent from work?
- Are you confident about addressing a group?
- How would a friend describe you?
- Would you work if you did not need money?
- What types of problems do you struggle with?
- Have you ever been arrested or convicted?
- What are your hobbies?
- How do you spend your spare time?
- Are you active in your community?
- When was your last vacation?
- Are you interested in sports?
- What part of the newspaper do you turn to first?
- What was the last book you read?
- Have you ever been refused a bond?
- Have you ever gone bankrupt?
- In what areas can you improve yourself?
- Tell me about yourself.
- What is your view of the political climate?
- Where else are you interviewing?
- What other offers have you received?
Some Sample Answers to Common Questions
What is your biggest weakness? "Well, I really don't feel I have a weakness which affects my working ability. At times I have a tendency to be impatient."
Why are you leaving? "I want to earn more, have added responsibility, and expand my knowledge. These opportunities don't exist in my present firm."
What do you think of your boss? "Excellent. I have enjoyed working with him."
You haven't worked in our industry before. When could you make a contribution? "I expect to be able to make a contribution in a short time. Obviously, it will take a little time to get my feet wet. However, there are a number of things which I have accomplished before. I may be able to institute some of them once I gain a better understanding of your firm. I am a quick learner."
How long would you stay with us? "As I mentioned to you, I'm looking for a career. However, I'm a realist. If I don't do the job, you won't want me around, and if there is no opportunity, it won't be right for me."
What's wrong with your current firm? "I don't feel there is anything wrong with the firm. I have enjoyed working there, and they have some really top people in management. It's a good company, but I am ready to handle additional responsibility right now."
Sample Letter for Following Up Your Interviews
Dear Mr. Carson:
You're probably surprised to hear from me, since we just met two days ago. Actually, I left your office with such enthusiasm that I feel compelled to mention some added thoughts.
First of all, let me thank you and your associates for a most interesting afternoon. Everything about Sigma Systems is professional, and I was very impressed. Second, I wanted to focus on your need for an action-oriented person who can produce short-term results, because I am confident I am that person. You might wish to consider my performance in the last two years.
Under my direction, operating costs were reduced by ,000,000 and profit jumped by 121.9%. In addition, the above were achieved with a total staff reduction of 8%.
There is no question that I can do at least as well for Sigma, if not better. Judging from your comments at our meeting, I suspect you agree.
The one concern you did express related to my relatively high financial needs. Over the years, I've learned that one major factor determines whether something is cheap or expensive. It's the marketplace that ultimately determines a person's value.
In this case, I strongly believe that your first consideration is with the results I can deliver. I have to believe that the return to the company would be substantial. Thanks again for your time, and I hope you'll consider me for what I know is a great opportunity for both of us.
Sincerely, Bill Williams (123) 456-7890
How "Overcoming Objections" Is Viewed by Some of Our Clients
"When I began with you, one of your staff asked what I thought should be my most important interviewing strategy. I can't remember my answer then, but I can tell you now. For me, getting comfortable with continuously handling the same objections was vital. I had been with one company a long time and my age was a concern. I almost gave up before getting involved with you, because I couldn't quite solve how to handle those things. Actually, between your materials and communication strategy, it looks quite basic to me in retrospect."
"After-dinner speakers know it. Coaches, motivators and preachers know it. Stories are the best way to communicate with new people, overcome objections, or make your point. Your approach drills at this, and I think it is the most essential underpinning to your service. Avoiding the simple answers, and having stories ready to make your best points, is the way to handle objections."
"Effective interviewing can be boiled down to this. Project the right image and attitude, build chemistry at all times, adapt yourself to fit the company, and be able to finesse the objections that will come your way. Without the last part, all your efforts are lost."