Tips from the Leadership Coach: Ask for the Job – And Keep Asking!

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Ask for the Job – And Keep Asking!

Lisa Thompson, Managing Director, Professional Serviceslisa thompson

Any successful widget salesperson will tell you that you have to ask for the order in order to close the deal. It’s not enough to discuss your widget’s features and benefits when talking to a prospective customer. At some point in the conversation, a salesperson will say, “How many widgets would you like to order?” or “Would you like to order 100 or 200 widgets?” The exact wording isn’t important – the key is to ask for the sale.

Many senior executives are very good about selling themselves during a job interview. They build rapport with the recruiter. They highlight their skills, experience and career accomplishments. They point out exactly why they would be the right fit for the C-suite position. They thank the interviewer on the way out, but they don’t ask for the job.

In our decades of experience in career coaching and consulting, we know that asking for the job can make a difference – at any level of the organization. Before leaving the interview, let the recruiter know that you are intrigued by the position and would welcome the opportunity. Let them know you are receptive to an offer, and ask if they have any questions or concerns about your candidacy. This also gives you a chance to address any weaknesses or misperceptions before they have a chance to take root.

Then, you should ask for the job again when you send a thank-you note or email the interviewer. It’s a great opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the position. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the next steps and timeline for filling the position, and ask if it is okay for you to check back from time to time. Stay in touch with the key decision makers and remind them—directly or subtly—that you want this job.

We have often heard of senior-level candidates getting the job because of their persistent and thoughtful follow-up. It is still a tough job market out there, but an enthusiastic and well-prepared candidate stands out. Remember, you are selling a “product” that’s a lot more valuable than a widget, and don’t be afraid to ask for the order.

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