I typically work with businesses that need assistance in understanding and coaching their Millennial employees. But last week, I had the chance to coach my own Millennial, my son…
Last week he called me on the phone to ask me for advice on a job interview. “Dad”, he said, “I have a job interview on the phone in 90-minutes. They want me to do a 5-minute sales pitch. Can you help?” Thinking out loud I said “Um, well, probably not– 90-minutes might not be enough time.” There was a pause, and then, thinking of all the cramming session in school over the years that we’d done together that worked out, I said in a measured, Dad-like manner, “Yea, sure, I can help. Let’s do this.”
This was a logistics company that had grown from $1M in 1997 to over $1.3B in 2012. One look at the website and it’s clear that the company has a sale driven culture that takes great pride in the quality of their salespeople and ability to deliver quality to their customers. I never had heard of them before, but this looked like an impressive company!
Nick, had already done much of the preliminary work, scouring their website and Google for relevant information on the company. He had all the raw features and benefits nailed down. He has always been naturally persuasive, charming and sociable. I was not worried about his ability to “connect”, but wanted to make sure there was a framework, or structure to his sales pitch.
Here is what I told him, and perhaps it can be helpful when your Millennial is interviewing for a sales job, or any job, for that matter. Follow these basic principles to coach your Millennial job seeker. They are the three “C”‘s of a job interview:
In a job interview, you must be clear about three things: 1) Who you are (your qualifications and interests), 2) How you fit the role (a list of your skills and knowledge matched to the position’s requirements), and 3) What you know (a solid understanding of the company’s mission, strategy,operations, culture, etc.). Have a plan. Practice what you are going to say. Make it clear and logical. Weave a narrative that makes sense. Tell them why you are in front of them, what lead you to be here, and exactly how you can make a difference in their company based on your unique contributions. Practice you pitch.
These days, there is no excuse for not doing your homework on the company you are interviewing with. Aside from studying their website, make sure to spend some extra time spend doing an article search, search for public filings,review financial statements, and check out the company on sites like Glassdoor.com. Set up Google Alerts with the company’s name and key words revolving around their business. And study. Then, study some more, and write down notes. Millennials are the most educated generation in US history, graduating from high school and college at record rates. This is another homework assignment. Prepare for a job interview like you prepare for a term paper. Have a main argument or thesis, make an outline, and fill in supporting evidence.
It’s hard to prepare for this one. Some applicants are more naturally confident than others, and it is not something you can turn on or off at a moment’s notice. That said, when an applicant is not confident in his or her abilities, the interviewer will pick this up immediately, and prospects for getting the job are hugely diminished. Millennials are well-known for their confidence– it is typically not in short supply. But be genuine and authentic and demonstrate how your confidence can help their company grow. Of course, if this is a sales pitch… make sure you ask for the order! Ask, “what are the next steps?”, and “I’d like to know, how did I do, and would you consider hiring me for the job?” When you ask these questions, it shows that you have initiative and you can ask for the sale, but without being too pushy.
I talked to Nick about an hour after the interview and he told me it went great. They would like him to take the next step for another interview. I was thrilled to hear that.
You’ve been coaching your Millennial throughout their entire life. Don’t stop now. Just a few simple tips can help him on his way to a better job and the start of a better career.