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What Infomercials Can Teach Us About Interviews - USAA Member Community


We’ve all watched them. Infomercials! Those elongated commercials that grab your attention in seconds and keep it for many minutes!


What is it about these tightly packaged informative shows that hook us? Why do we stay tuned?


More importantly, what is it about infomercials that can help us in interviews?


Infomercials start out strong by stating a solution to a problem.


Interviews start out with you stating how you’ve actively provided solutions in past jobs.


The point here is that you need to come across as a “problem solver” rather than a “problem identifier”. Problem solvers have documented proof of how they came up with solutions to past problems in prior positions. You don’t want to be the person who comes in for an interview and tries to tell the company what’s wrong with their operation. You’re not part of their team yet. No matter how much experience you might have that you perceive is an exact fit with this company, the last thing you want to do is arrive with a list of things the company needs to fix. Present solutions to previous problems and how you overcame them. At some point, the Interviewer will probably ask you a situational question that gives you an excellent opportunity to share a story on your problem-solving ability.


An infomercial not only states a solution, it also answers the question: Why are we here? Why should you listen to this? You can do the same by verbalizing your ability to problem solve and engage the Interviewer.


Infomercials demonstrate how the product works as well as how well the product works.

Interviews allow you to demonstrate how you work (your work ethic) and how well you work (results).


When you watch an infomercial, you can count on that product demonstration – those easy-to-use, step-by-step, here’s how it works parts of the story. Words such as; simple, ideal, convenient, all-purpose, versatile, and valuable can be heard several times within the infomercial. These words serve as a constant reminder of what the product brings to you. Each carefully chosen word further strengthens the reputation of the product and your belief in it. Listen to any infomercial and you’ll notice word-choice makes a difference in your perception of the product being pitched.


In an interview, you tell stories about your ease-of-use. You highlight the highly skilled attributes from your past. You explain specific tasks you’ve tackled by sharing your step-by-step process. You ultimately leave no doubt that you’re the ideal candidate for the position. Your ability to come up with simple solutions to complex problems, your versatility to succeed with many or limited resources, and your value needs to be communicated each time you interview. Just as in the infomercial, word-choice is important to you.


Infomercials have many parallels to interviews, but for the sake of time, here’s the last one for now.


Infomercials include a “call to action” for a limited time.


Interviews require the same. Let me explain.


How many times during the course of an infomercial do you hear the words, “For a limited time!”, “Call within the next 10 minutes”, “Operators are standing by!”, or some other command to take action now? You can put together the coolest infomercial, with the neatest product, along with beautiful models or a paid spokesperson, but it does no good if you don’t sell the product, right?


Interviews should prompt a similar response from the person interviewing you. Now, you don’t want to come across arrogant or too cool, but to me, the “call to action” is a 2-part process. In part 1, you go first by saying something that fully expresses your interest in the job. You make the call for action by asking a question that leaves no doubt that you want the job. I’ve heard many creative ways of doing this over the years, but essentially, you want to say something to the effect of “When do I start?” This is your way of selling the product (You) by asking for the job.


Part 2 is where the Interviewer provides a call to action. When you ask for the job, the Interviewer will provide clues as to how well you sold them on hiring you. Listen closely! Whatever comes out of their mouth next, is YOUR CALL TO ACTION!


And, that’s when you respond in such a way as to say something like, “But wait! You also get…!”


Remember, you won’t get the job until you sell the product. Infomercials provide all the clues you need to succeed in interviews!


Have something to add to this article? Share your advice below.




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