Developing Your Career


Think Like a Shark to Win the Hiring Game

By Lee Hecht Harrison on January 29, 2015

In the popular reality TV show, “Shark Tank,” aspiring entrepreneurs pitch to potential investors. In a similar fashion, job seekers pitch themselves, their skills and experience to prospective employers during an interview. In the show, some of the top entrepreneurs in the country ask probing questions to determine the viability of the pitch. In the same way, the interviewer is probing to determine the viability of the job seeker. Here’s how to apply the same line of questioning to help you think like a shark and position yourself as the candidate to hire in your next interview.

  1. What are your numbers? The sharks start out by asking for the business’s sales figures and expenses to gauge the motivation and innovation of the business owner.  In the job search, numbers are equally important. Instead of saying, “I responded to customer inquiries” say, “I responded to 200 customers inquiries a day across four time zones.” “Improved sales” could become “Improved sales to 30 major customers by 20% over a one-year period.” Specific numbers count, so count your numbers.
  2. How is your product different? In the job search, you are the product, so be prepared to explain how you’re different—and better—than the competition. Even if you’re not asked the question directly, it looms over the whole conversation. The bottom line: Explain why you’re different from the competition and what you’ll bring to the organization whether they ask it or not.
  3. Do you have hustle? The sharks favor owners who are enterprising—who’ve taught themselves everything from factory production to code to graphic design. Prospective employers also want “hustle” in their employees, so find opportunities to assert your interest in the position and show how you’ve taken responsibility for your own professional development.
  4. Why—and how much— should we invest in you? As a job seeker, you should be confident that your salary expectations are both realistic and reasonable. Analyze the value of your skill set in today’s market via, and LHH’s 2015 Salary Guide, so you know what type of offer to expect from a potential employer and how to counter it.

To stand out in the interview process, think like a shark and be prepared to tell potential employers what you have to offer, how much you’re worth, how you’re different from the competition and how you’ve invested in yourself in order to succeed.

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