March 19, 2004, Newsletter Issue #9: How to Showcase Yourself to Your Best Advantage

Tip of the Week

Look closely at these two examples and see if you can spot the differences before we go into analyzing them.

JOE BLOW: Well, I`m a really good Business Office Manager. With Maplewood Community Hospital, I decreased bad debt by lowering the AR days from 98 to 64. That significantly enhanced our revenue, and I got a bonus for it."

DAN THE MAN: When I began as Business Office Manager for Rovington Medical Center, AR days were at 98. I restructured the Business Office by adding another person to the collections team and also re-wrote the Policy and Procedures manual so there was more emphasis on up-front deposits. I worked with the staff to implement a payment program for mothers-to-be, so that during the term of the pregnancy, they were paying off the bill in advance. This resulted in lowering the AR days to 64, bringing us $XXXX amount in revenue over a period of XXXX time frame. You mentioned that you`d like to become more aggressive in bringing revenue in through the business office. I`d enjoy looking at existing policies and department set up and pulling the team together to assist (client hospital) in achieving its revenue goals through the Business Office.

The latter example is what sales people call a FEATURE/BENEFIT statement. Take a pen and its cap, for example. The feature is the cap. The benefit is that it prevents you from getting ink all over your hands or clothes. In this example, the feature is Dan the Manís skills. The benefit is how the hospital will be able to bring in additional revenue through the business office if they hire him.

Notice a few other subtleties about the second answer:
o Dan the Man not only said what he did, he told how he did it.
o There are only two "I" statements in that paragraph
o He says the word "team" twice, and also mentions he worked "with the staff"
o He ties it together by bringing up a problem the interviewer had indicated exists
o He doesn`t say how good he is - he lets the accomplishments speak for him
o He uses the word "enjoy" to describe his responsibilities

People want to know what`s in it for them. Help your interviewer out - and yourself - by spelling that out. The interviewer wants to know why he should hire you. He wants to know what you can do for the company. He wants to know what makes you different or better than any other candidates he`s interviewing. If you don`t tell him that, who will? Another candidate! But be honest; don`t make things up. You`ll get discovered in the end.

After all, even though an interview is a two-way street, remember that your goal is to want the company to give you an offer and for YOU to decide if that`s where you want to work. If the company isn`t interested in hiring you, whether you want to work there or not becomes completely irrelevant.

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