Describing your skills at interview may be necessary; however, for Umbrella Company Employees seeking premium contracting assignments, it is no longer sufficient.

So says PCG member John Niland, an expert on business opportunity communication, who categorises such self-referential comments as ‘level one’ statements. These statements no longer help candidates to stand out from the crowd because most interviewees use them routinely.

Mr Niland’s ‘level two’ statements, which refer to the benefits for the employer in hiring this candidate, do not really cut the mustard either. Although the candidate might appear more results-focused, Mr Niland says, more and more people are using level two statements at interview and, as a result, they are starting to “glide past the ear as marketing clichés”.

To make the best impression, candidates need to start using ‘level three’ statements: comments that subtly but powerfully reframe conventional questions or benefits statements in such a way as to impart a new insight to the listener. These comments, Mr Niland says, focus not on the applicant but on the client.

An example of a level three statement is: “You know how many service organisations have already done cutbacks. They have not only got rid of the fat; in many cases they have had to cut into the muscle as well. So the question that preoccupies our clients is how do you minimise risk when you are expanding capacity?”

According to Mr Niland, this statement has three core components – it focuses on clients and their dilemmas, it demonstrates that the candidate knows the world he or she is operating within, and it reframes the problem before offering a solution.

Level three insights may just be the passport to the best assignments.

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