In my last blog I talked about how job seekers need to identify and communicate their real business value to prospective employers. The question I closed that blog with was: “How do you quantify your value, particularly if you worked in a staff position such as Human Resources, Accounting, Compliance, or Marketing?”
Quantifying or measuring value is important because it can differentiate you from other applicants. As mentioned in my previous blog, you should start with the simple question: “What’s the worst that could happen to my company if I did not do my job properly?” Keep asking that question until you can get to one of the basic business goals of revenue, cost, cash or compliance.
Take for example an interview in which a compliance specialist is asked: “What did you accomplish in your previous role?”
The applicant says: “I did my job, filed all the necessary regulatory documents on time and never missed a deadline. But what if the interviewee answered this instead: “When I was employed at the company it was never cited for inaccurate filings, and in our industry – based on federal reports – the typical company was fined $35,000 on average each year for either missing a deadline or erroneous filings.”
Which statement denotes real value? Which statement is the hiring manager most likely to remember? The second statement of course! But the second statement requires the interviewee to do some homework and go beyond just listing the skills and tasks of your previous job.
Or, consider this – if you are interviewing for a position as a support manager, during an interview you might say: “I managed a support staff of 24 and we were on-call 24/7, responding to 1,000 calls per week.” To add value to this statement, you could instead say: “I inherited an under-performing support staff of 24. I implemented a new Customer Relations Management system and used a “train the trainer” approach to speed learning. In my first year, I reduced turnover by 50 percent and saved $135,600/year while also improving call response by 27 percent.”**
When I coach my clients at CareerPlace, I usually hear this response: “I never had access to the financial data at my previous employer.” Here’s where you really need to do your homework. Contact some of the people you worked with and ask if they point you in the direction of someone who could give you specific information. Discuss it with a friend that has a business background, use public information such as financial reports, use industry bench marks, or search the web. Lastly, the dollar number you come up with does not have to be exact. Approximations are OK if you are at least in the ballpark and the number you use is reasonable and quantifiable, you’ll be fine.
Clearly you have to dig deep to show real value, but if you want to really differentiate yourself from all the other applicants that is what you must do. Communicating value is a important step in nailing a job interview!
**How did we come up with $135,600/year? Here’s the arithmetic:
24 staff with 50 percent turnover = 12 new hires each year, cut in half = 6. Then 6 times a 6 week training program, at an average salary and benefits of $5,000/ mo. is; $5 * 1.5mo * 6 = $45,000/yr. Then for each new recruit we paid a search firm a fee of $15,100, so 6 * 15,100 = $90,600/yr. Total saving: $45,000+90,600 = $135,600 each year and every year!
And don’t forget that you increased call response by 27 percent , which translates into increased (or maintaining) revenue. Satisfied customers will renew support contracts, unsatisfied clients will not. So, you could easily justify a revenue impact based comparing current to past renewal rates.