Q&A | Bill Faust
Close to a decade after he co-authored the international best-seller Pitch Yourself, Bill Faust believes that the rules of the game have changed very little. The bottom line, he says, remains the same: You are the product and you are just as good as your ability to stand out in a talent pool. Faust was in India last week for the first time to deliver a series of lectures organized by Stellar Search, an executive search firm. Edited excerpts from an interview:
Career path: Bill Faust, co-author of Pitch Yourself.
You coined the concept Elevator Pitch almost a decade ago. Do you feel things have changed since then?
I would say that the basics behind the concept haven’t changed at all. The only difference is in the delivery and the media today. These are changing all the time. Take television, for instance. It didn’t kill cinema. When we look at communication, we look at delivering the message and newer ways to reach the customer and negotiate. We need to make people understand what differentiates me from you and you from everybody else. You must make people understand what the differentiating factor really is. It doesn’t matter what we are going to say, but fundamentally, you need to think about two things: “Have they bought me?” and “Have I created that buyer?” A majority of people don’t think about their style and just concentrate on the product and service. This is where it is essential you understand the value of 30 seconds.
How do you market yourself without sounding pompous?
The answer is far simpler and mundane than you might think. This goes back to what is marketing. Fundamentally, marketing is understanding the needs and motivation of a buyer. You’ll be in a scenario where you only give the buyer the information they require. But you need to remember that you are helping the buyer. Marketing is all about creating a demand of all sorts. In order to do that, you have to create, build and maintain relationships.
What is the Career DNA Bank strategy?
It refers to the library of your transferable assets, substantiated by a list of examples that prove each transferable asset. First of all, you have to understand what you have to offer and what makes you different from others. For Pitch Yourself, we developed the Career DNA Bank. This strategy helps to identify and evidence what you are employed for and helps for the rest of your life. Pick 10-15 examples from your career where you were successful. You don’t have to remember them all, just a few key words will remind you of these since they are already in your cognition. It is basically coming up with your best ability, which is demonstrated by a story. You need to concentrate on the analysis that you’re thinking of. You have to look at things from the buyer’s perspective and not yours. When you’re creating a Career DNA Bank, you pick your most relevant abilities and the more you put in, the more you get out.
Is your CV your only chance of finding a job?
In terms (of) the entire recruitment process, it’s a strategy. No, it is not your last chance. It can be seen as your first chance. It’s all about understanding yourself first and what differentiates you from the other person.
Do you see any difference in perception between employers in India and those in the West?
I don’t. On the marketing side of it, we are talking of different cultures. In India, people are more than happy to talk about themselves. We in the West are slightly more conservative in the way we project ourselves. It doesn’t really matter how excited, conservative one is, as long as you hit the right points. Once these are done, it shows that the product is really you. Grabbing is about managing expectations and speaking the buyer’s language.