Take Control of the Interview

There once was a time when I wanted to become a car salesman. I read in the paper that the largest local car dealer in the area was hiring because of explosive growth. (It was really because they couldn’t keep salesmen). I walked up to the receptionist and told her that I might be interested in the job and that I had a few questions about the position. She did what the typical receptionist is instructed to do, hand me an employment application and said that if the manager was interested, he would call me in for an interview. I quickly handed her back the empty application and told her that I first wanted to interview the manager to see if I would be interested in working for him. I then asked to schedule an appointment. She looked at me with astonishment and picked up the phone. “Mr. ______, there is a gentleman out here and he would like to interview YOU before he applies for the sales position. After a few seconds of silence she hung up and told me to go ahead in, he would see me now. After a brief introduction the manager asked me how he can help me. “Before I fill out one of your applications I wanted to ask you one question.” “What is that?” he replied. I leaned back in my chair and said; “Why should I work for you?” He said, “Because we are hiring and you seem to need a job?” I said, “That is not good enough Mr. ____. You see if I am going to invest 40-50 hours per week in this company, I need to make sure I am going to get a good return on my investment. My time is very valuable and I do not like investing it in anything that will not yield a good return.” Now it was his turn to lean back in his chair. “I never had anyone ask me that before Mr. Wagner, I am impressed”. He then went on to tell me all the wonderful reasons why I should work for them. (It was at this point I took control of the interview). When he was finished, I told him that it seemed as though his company was very professional and I felt we may be able to come to a mutual agreement, but I had one more question. “What is that Bob?”. “Mr.____ is your goal for your salesmen to sell cars or is it for them to hang around the lot waiting for someone to come in so they can pounce on them? “Excuse me?” Well, Mr. ______ I was just wondering if the primary reason you had salesmen was to sell cars or to be on the lot? “Sell cars of course”. “OK then, so if I could sell just as many cars as some of your top salesmen in less hours, you will allow me to put in less hours?” He thought for a minute and said, if you can do that, then we will have something to talk about.” I told him that I would give him 30 days of my time, and after 30 days, if I prove I can sell as many cars as your top salesmen, without using any of my contacts I would be back in his office to renegotiate. He agreed and I got the job. On the way out the door he asked, “Hey Bob, how many cars have you sold before?” I leaned back in the door, smiled and said, “I won’t know till the end of the month.” ( I had never sold a car in my life other then my own on my front lawn).

I give you this example of how you can be in control of your life and your interview. You see, you have to sell yourself, you have to become something that people need. As soon as they realize that you have potential, you are no longer just at their mercy for pay or position. You are valuable and you are investing yourself in that company. Make sure you get the best return on your investment and that the employer gets the best return on theirs. The more valuable you become to them, the more they will pay you. It starts in the mind. Learn and earn!

What happened? I did my part and went back to the manager to renegotiate my hours. He brought my request to the owner and the owner came to me and said that he was impressed and thought I could have a great future there, but if he allowed me special hours, he would have to allow everyone special hours and he couldn’t do that without creating confusion. I told him that was a shame because I hadn’t even gotten started yet and I guess your manager was wrong when he said that selling cars was the primary goal around here. I shook his hand, and gave my notice. The last I heard, the manager was not working there anymore either.

It is a shame that people would rather loose something good then rethink how things are done. The owner of that dealership may be doing OK with his investment, but why settle for OK when you can have greatness AND help others attain greatness at the same time? This dealership goes through salesmen like water, all because they refuse to think outside the box.

It is a shame that people would rather loose a marriage, children, their possessions then rethink how things are done as well.

Take back your life!

Bob Wagner

Bob Wagner is a Pastor and Motivational Speaker. You may contact him by email at bobwagner@bobwagner.org. or visit his website for more articles like this one.