We all know the importance of a first impression. Whether you are on a first date, meeting your girlfriend's parents for the first time, selling a product, or on a job interview, the ability to not only connect with your audience but impress them quickly is the key to a successful outcome. I recently spoke with a car salesman who told me that he had 18 seconds to build rapport and gain trust with a prospective buyer.
Wow, that is some fast talking! In the interviewing process, it has been proven, time and time again, that we have about 30 seconds to impress our audience. We have 30 seconds to share our story, show our interest, build value, and move our audience to action. Those 30 seconds have been christened as our "30-second commercial", our "introduction", and also our "Elevator speech". Whatever the name, those first 30 seconds of an encounter will greatly influence the outcome. When searching for employment, it will determine whether or not you land the job of your dreams.
As a recruiter, I use every opportunity to network, as I am always on the lookout for talent. Recently, I had an opportunity to meet a very unique young man. When we met he was casually but neatly dressed, well-groomed, and had a very nice smile. He thanked me in advance for my time. His handshake was firm and professional. He proceeded to tell me who he was, delivered a synopsis of his story, and expressed his interest in building a relationship with me. He eloquently shared his value and his hope for my call to action—all in about 30 seconds. There are no words to describe how impressed I was with this young man! I had just witnessed the epitome of a 30-second commercial.
A 30-second commercial is key if you are trying to create a powerful first impression when seeking a job. It consists of four main objectives, all of which are important. Here are the steps to creating an effective 30-second commercial:
1. Introduce yourself and your objective.
For example, a salesperson might have the following introduction: "My name is Jane Doe, and I have 5 years of proven success in a sales and service environment. I am interested in utilizing my talent to increase your organization's bottom line."
2. Next, tell your story.
In other words, list your experience in one sentence. What? In one sentence? You can do it! Relating back to the salesperson, here is an example: "During my tenure as a sales professional, I have gained valuable experience in both inside and outside sales, and I have had the opportunity to sell business to business as well as business to consumer in your industry."
3. Third, this is your chance to build value, to tell that employer exactly what you can do for them and why they should hire you.
Here is another example: "For the last 5 years, as the sole salesperson for my current company, I have grown the organization's revenue exponentially. I believe that the industry knowledge I have gained, as well as my commitment to customer service, could enhance your team's efforts as well as your organization's profitability."
4. Lastly, you need a call to action!
A call to action is a statement that asks the recipient of your commercial to complete a task, to do something, to act!! The last sentence of this salesperson's 30-second commercial might read: "I am interested in working for you and would like to schedule a one on one interview... would Tuesday at 2:00 PM be convenient for you?" If the hiring manager can't meet at that time he or she will tell you. However, this opens the door to communication. Nine times out of ten, the hiring manager will schedule a time to meet with you, if not at your proposed time, then at a time that is more convenient for them. And that is your goal, your call for their action.
In a nutshell, here is an example of a salesperson's 30-second commercial in its entirety:
"My name is Jane Doe. I have 5 years of proven success in a sales and service environment, and I am interested in utilizing my talent to increase your company's bottom line. During my tenure as a sales professional I have gained valuable experience in your industry by selling business to business and business to consumer. For the last 5 years, as the sole salesperson for my current company, I have grown the organization's revenue exponentially. I believe that the industry knowledge I have gained, as well as my commitment to customer service, could enhance your team's efforts and your organization's profitability. I am interested in working for your organization and would like to schedule an in-person interview. Would next Tuesday at 2:00 pm work with your schedule?"
Once you have your 30-second commercial ready, practice, practice, practice!! This will give you the confidence to approach those whom you have never met. I was lucky enough to work for a company that assisted us in creating our 30-second commercial. We were asked to write our elevator speech, and then asked to deliver it in an actual elevator! We had to start speaking when the elevator opened, and were expected to have our speech completed before the door closed. We were videotaped, and then the management team gave feedback. As scary as this was at the time, I believe it allowed me the opportunity to perfect my "elevator speech", and it gave me valuable insight to just how important it is! Believe me, when someone is delivering their 30-second commercial to me I listen very closely. This is their chance to "sell" themselves to me. This is their chance to convince me why they should be hired. This is their chance to get me to act!
As for the young man I recently met who impressed me so much, you might be surprised to learn that he was not looking for a job at all... he was, in fact, homeless. He was asking for money so he might afford a bite to eat. Needless to say, because of his outstanding introduction and sincere, professional 30-second commercial, I bought him breakfast. If he had been interviewing for a job he easily would have made it to the next round. Never underestimate the significance of a powerful, well rehearsed, 30-second commercial!
Throughout her tenure as a recruiter, Angela has worked in a variety of industries, including the highly regulated environments of healthcare and higher education. She has valuable experience in staffing and recruitment, including temporary staffing, professional recruitment, and corporate recruitment. She has also participated in recruiting at all levels within an organization, from general labor and line staff positions, to C-Suite Executives. Angela is an advisor and trainer; an inspiring, engaging, confident public speaker; and a well-rounded human resources professional.© 2017 Angela Gatewood
The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal, financial, or medical professional.