YOUR SECRET WEAPON: THE “MINI-PITCH”
Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future
What is a mini-pitch? Mini-pitch – A well-practiced articulate and impressive response of 20 to 30 seconds to questions that you know will be asked of you in an interview.
OK, let’s start at the beginning. How do you know the questions that will be asked of you (or at least 80 to 90% of them?). Simple. Look at the ad, position description or definition of the open position on the company’s website. Make a list of the “must have’s” and “would like to have” that the company has established. Then take your resume, which parallels the position to be filled. Now look at it objectively. If you were the hiring manager, what would be the questions you would ask? Most questions will focus on the hiring manager’s query for each item on your resume:
- What did you do?
- How did you do it?
- What were the results?
(This material is covered in another “GETTING HIRED” article called Universal Q & A’s)
Mini-pitches should be practiced and perfected in content and delivery then delivered spontaneously. The key elements of a mini-pitch response are: define the issue (what were you trying to resolve?), the action you took (what steps did you take?) and the results (what were the positive outcomes?).
Here’s an example to the question: “HOW DID YOU OBTAIN THOSE RESULTS?” (Imagine you are currently interviewing for an Assistant Product Manager position and talking about an item on your resume about increasing revenue as a Marketing Analyst for a consumer products company) Your mini-pitch response would be something like this sequence:
First, the issue: “Our revenues had been flat for the past 2 years”.
Second, the action: “We researched our customer’s buying patterns by analyzing consumer behavior models. After comparing the development costs for a new product versus re-branding an older product, we introduced a new line to a new market”.
Third, the results: “The outcome was an incremental 12.2% increase in new orders from new customers over an 18 month period”.
This is A 62 word mini-pitch in 21 seconds. You practiced the answer because you knew the question that was most likely to be asked. When you answer, you will sound confident and competent. You’ve made a positive impression with the hiring manager because you provided a full response without a distracting narrative of irrelevant details. It also provides the hiring manager the opportunity to ask follow-up questions. These questions are critical for you to listen to very carefully, because they tend to give you insights into the issues within the organization that the hiring manager wants to resolve. Once you understand the hiring manager’s direction, you can guide the discussion to your advantage. Your next task is to link your answers to the hiring manager’s questions as it applies to the issues to be resolved. But that’s a topic we’ll cover in another GETTING HIRED article.
Mini-pitches are essential to understand, create and practice. It separates you from other applicants who may not be as prepared as you. Mini-pitches also force you to target answers in a way that demonstrates your ability to focus on the things that are important. From the hiring manager’s perspective you show the ability to “think on your feet” in an articulate way.
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