Oakland, CA — Pitch season is here, and I’ve been brushing up on my interviewing skills. I consider pitching a sport, like baseball, or some sort of performance art. Like a sport, you only get better if you train for it.
Here’s a few tips to help you land that job or a promotion.
Fall in love with your idea: It doesn't matter what you're pitching for. There's no such thing as a bad question, but there are good or bad ideas. You can sell anything if you fall in love with your idea, show confidence in the pitch and most importantly, make them believe in your idea too.
Practice makes perfect: How do you learn best? What are your weaknesses when you perform? I tend to talk too much and that could be overwhelming for interviews. Since I know this, I take advantage of practicing my interview skills by practicing elevator pitches and mirror work. Just remember, this is just one way to practice but depending on the type of interview, sometimes less is more.
Be prepared: Do your research. What kind of business are they? Figure out what keywords they want to hear, and take note of what you should never say. Is there any public information that you could use to your advantage? Are there any notable people who have been in this position you're interviewing for? Remember, the research prep is different.
1. What are they known for?
2. Do you have something fresh and unique that compliments them?
3. Is there something specific that they're looking to buy?
4. How marketable and how valuable is your pitch; is it oversaturated?
Being prepared lets them know you're on your A game — which is probably a characteristic that they're looking for.
Be engaging: One crucial thing to consider is don't overdo it. It could come off as insincere. Done right though, this is potentially a quick way to get the upper hand in the interview just by using charm alone. Make sure you ask thoughtful questions if they present the opportunity for you to ask them questions. Remember, they're humans too. Ask yourself how you can connect with them regardless of the outcome, sometimes you will lose a game or two, but you can conquer the season if you learn from those losses, never take it personally, and make sure you leave the door open for the future.
Present yourself for success: Not every meeting requires you to wear a suit. It is possible to overdress. What's the smartest way you can present yourself? Even if it's a Zoom call, it is still important to make sure you're dressed appropriately. Do you have your hair done? Have you groomed? Make sure you've dressed appropriately. If you've already hired but know you have a big meeting, maybe come in with a nice collared shirt and nice bottoms that you could pair with a casual jacket. If it's for a pitch there's more room for expression. I remember I wore a beret with a nice but semi-casual collared short sleeve, some nice denim jeans and I had long messy hair that I braided with a really small minimal chain. I opted to go without my glasses because it was a Zoom call and the glare takes away some emotions from my eyes.
So if you're going into a job interview, have a pitch meeting or any big meeting, I hope this has served as a useful guide into conquering all of the meetings you go into this year.