Misperceptions about Selling in the Interview

Can you be a better listener in the interview with hiring managers?

How do you interview? Are you listening or pitching?

Interviewing is a sales presentation. Forget your traditional image of a pushy sales person pitching a canned response. Instead, use solution selling to uncover all the reasons the hiring manager should select you for the open job.

Miriam Salpeter described a recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine in her blog post “Humanize Your Pitch – Use Your Ears” on the Keppie Careers Blog. Miriam made the connection of what top sales billers do when meeting prospects to the interview process when meeting hiring managers. Her contention was that candidates should focus less on “pitching” and more on listening.

Many candidates fail to listen deeply to the hiring manager and then use that information to pose questions. This technique of listening for opportunities, problems, and issues as conversation starters is a key component of a technique in sales called Solution Selling.

Solution Selling suggests that a more powerful outcome can be achieved by listening and framing questions from what you hear as opposed to the traditional process of “pitching” your rehearsed lines and speech. An excellent book on this subject is called SPIN Selling. It should be required reading for every job seeker.

My Partner, Brad Remillard, wrote a recent article on this blog titled “A Critical Interviewing Mistake” that describes why NOT asking questions in the interview is comparable to being immediately rejected.

STOP pitching as Miriam mentions, and start LISTENING. Your ability to ask questions will improve dramatically.


photo credit by edwindejongh

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About the Author

Barry Deutsch is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Barry is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  • By Miriam Salpeter, Keppie Careers, September 12, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

    I’m glad that you agree that listening is an important (sometimes overlooked) piece of the job search puzzle! Thank you for the ping, and I LOVE the photo that accompanies your piece!

  • By Barry Deutsch, September 12, 2009 @ 11:03 pm


    I think all job seekers should take an elementary class in listening skills. The improvement in that one trait could dramatically reduce their job search time. Thanks for the comment on the photo – I had to really dig deep to find that photo.

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