Face it…interviewing for a job or asking for a promotion can be unsettling. There are a number of ways you can employ influence. In this case we will discuss a combination of the Push and Pull Influences Styles of Persuading and Bridging, respectively.
The first step is preparation. When interviewing outside of your present company, do some homework. For starters, visit the organization’s website to read about the mission, vision, and values. If the company is publicly traded, you might also check their standing in the marketplace through independent reports which are easily obtained online. The fruits of this research can be very effectively leveraged at the interview as you impress the interviewer with your level of preparation.
Once in the interview, you will use a combination of Bridging and Persuading. When you devise good reasons and make the case for yourself, perhaps the most critical issue is to determine what is really important to the person with whom you are meeting. Of course, if you are going into an initial job interview, this may be more difficult than when you are being considered for a promotion within your existing organization. In either case, you use the Influence Style of Bridging, which involves asking open-ended questions and active listening.
One important area of inquiry would be to ask the interviewer what they are looking for in a candidate in the area of personal attributes as well as technical skills. Many companies have a list of behavioral competencies such as interpersonal savvy, ability to work in a team, being cool under pressure, etc. Information about these competencies adds to your database of THEIR perceived needs. Find out about other talent in the organization in terms of who has a reputation for being successful and why. As you process all the data collected before and during the interview, you are ready to use Persuading to position yourself as the best candidate.
When Persuading someone, you construct a cogent proposal (in this case, that you should be hired or promoted) and generate a few but very compelling reasons why the other party should accept your proposal. The reasons you use will be based on the data that you have determined is important to the interviewer. One thing to be careful of is to keep the number of reasons relatively small (2 to 3). Any more than this and you risk diluting the impact of any of the reasons, and therefore, the argument as a whole may be weakened. So, if having a reputation as an expert in your field is paramount, talk about your expertise. If teamwork is a highly regarded value, mention your contributions to teams you have worked with in the past and how these contributions helped to produce business outcomes.
If you want a promotion, the same influence strategy applies. Only in this situation, you will have much of the above mentioned information at hand. Combine that with what you know about the organizational structures and processes to really understand what makes your organization “tick” and position yourself accordingly.
Whatever the situation, be explicit, specific and confident about the value you bring. This approach to influence is not the only influence method available, but can be extremely effective when properly employed.