Using Free Market Economics in Your Job Search
The Limited Time Offer Technique
Any good salesperson will tell you that one of the best ways to close a sale is to make a limited time offer. The same applies in the employment field.
If you are having difficulty getting interviews set up, tentatively schedule a visit to the area, possibly over winter or spring break, or even during an extended weekend. Then make a new round of phone calls. This time, make sure you note that: "I plan to be in the _____ area Monday through Friday, December _____ to _____" (or whatever your time frame is). You can also utilize the Alternative Choice Technique by stating: "I have Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday open. Which of those days would be best for you?"
If they balk at the opportunity to meet with you, remind them that you will only be in the area a short time. "After that time, there would, of course, be travel expenses involved to arrange a meeting." If they have any level of interest, they will get the point. This is a limited time offer. If they have any interest in interviewing you, they had better do it when you are in town, or it will likely end up costing them $1,000+ for the plane/hotel/rental car routine.
This technique also works well once you have one interview set up. If you are being flown in, ask for an extra day or so to scout the area, or ask to stay over the weekend. This will give you the chance to meet with any other prospective employers while you are in town. If you are staying extra on Company #1's expense account, make sure you do actually spend time looking around the area and not just meeting with Company #2 and Company #3. If that is the only reason your hotel bill is three nights instead of one, you have an ethical obligation to pick up the extra two nights' expense.
The Multiple Interview Technique
If you have one interview and would like to quickly generate more, simply start dropping names. Mention the name of the company you are interviewing with as you are attempting to set up additional interviews. Most employers have a strong herd instinct which guides them when deciding whom to interview. "Oh, you're interviewing with XYZ? Let me see what I can work into my schedule." It's amazing how quickly the schedule will open up for someone who is already being interviewed, especially if the interview is with a competitor.
So when you get an interview lined up, do not simply follow that process through to completion before pursuing other potential opportunities. You are in the very best position to set up multiple interviews immediately after the first interview has been set up. Make the most of this by turning one interview into multiple interviews.
The Solution Suggestion Technique
You may be aware of a product introduction or ad campaign being conducted by an employer in which you are interested. Or you may be a user of their product or service. If you have a valid suggestion for improvement, drop a note to a key person detailing this information. Most executives enjoy getting this kind of feedback direct from their customers and welcome honest suggestions. "A possibility for improvement occurred to me while using your product…"
Note that this does not have to be restricted to a specific product or service suggestion. There are plenty of potential areas of focus with any company, among which are areas where you might be able to offer a benefit for the company. Do you feel you can add value by:
- Increasing sales?
- Expanding market share?
- Finding new markets?
- Increasing efficiency?
- Upgrading technology?
- Reducing production cycle time?
- Reducing costs?
Remember, any area where you can provide a potential benefit is reason enough to make contact. Find a potential problem and come up with your own solution to present to the company. It's an extra touch that very few college students would even consider attempting. It may provide your entry point into the company. And it then gives you the chance to ask about employment opportunities.