Every morning when I get to my computer, I’m amazed at how many companies have targeted me as someone in need of their products or services. I take it in stride, though, because in 99 percent of the cases, I’m of course not interested, and I know that the e-mail has been sent to a vast audience.
Usually, I read at least some of the content because I’m intrigued not by the content but by the company’s marketing tactics. I do get puzzled, though, by the reason that all of these marketing gurus advocate the overwhelming of their audiences. We know that the average person’s span of attention is 20 seconds, yet a read of the entire document would probably take more than 10 minutes. So, my questions are, How many people are turned off by an e-mail’s sheer size? How many read at least a portion of the message? and, How many become convinced that the product or service is exactly what they need and in the end, buy it?
I for one am the type of person who needs information summed up quickly and who must be kept intrigued; otherwise, I delete without remorse and move on.
Specifically what caught my eye this morning was an e-mail about “winning, job interview answers.” The Web site link led to listed several potentially difficult interview questions—designed of course to work on the reader’s emotions. It reminded me of a common question that life insurance salespeople like to ask: “What happens to your loved ones once you die?” Further, the site promised to build your likability. And your confidence. Oh, really? That easily? And all this by downloading a bunch of PDF files and buying books that, if done by tonight(!), would be discounted 40%. And to build a reader’s confidence, there’s also a wealth recommendation.
What seemed scary to me was the insinuation that by reading the answers to such questions, “you will get hired.” But I’m in fact a practicing professional career coach specializing in training people for interviews. And after several years of such practice and after serving several hundred clients, I can say with confidence that the insinuation about getting hired is an exaggeration.
Interview preparation is a complex task, involving more than just memorization of canned answers. I wonder if anyone believes that reading a book on, say, how to dance makes one ready to jump onto the dance floor and do a demonstration in front of an audience of critical judges. The only way I know of to train people for interviews is by demonstrating for them, practicing with them, providing constructive critiques, and then doing it again and again till perfect. Please share your opinion. The value of these blogs is in others’ comments.