We have all been subjected to grueling interviews where we have to go through a gauntlet with multiple interviewers during multiple visits to get a job. You have to ask yourself, why are the companies putting you through this ordeal? Are they looking for someone to kill the “The Great White Shark” that is “terrorizing” them? Most likely not, so why put yourself through this angst? Perhaps because we don't have a great one minute pitch.
If you are being hired to kill “The Great White Shark” that is hurting the company’s bottom line, then who better than Captain Quint of the movie “Jaws” to teach us how to get the job in one minute. In a sense, to get a job, you have to be a shark yourself.
In this short movie clip from the movie "Jaws" you can see how effectively Captain Quint makes his pitch in just one minute. And as we know, he does get the job.
You probably want to avoid the part about Captain Quint scratching the chalkboard to get the attention, but everything after that is spot on on how to make your pitch in one minute. Note, there are no questions asked since Captain Quint addresses everything that matters in this impromptu non-interview.
1. Understand the problem and situation well first
Captain Quint is patiently sitting in a room full of scared and frustrated people in a town council’s meeting trying to figure out how to kill the shark that has killed couple of people in their beachfront town. He does three things before he gets their attention: He knows that the town has a major problem; he knows there is an urgency; he knows they don’t have much time; he knows they don't know who can get the job done; he knows there is lot of confusion on what to do. Once he senses that the condition are right for him, he seizes the moment.
Takeaway: Don't act unless you have everything figured out. Don't ever "fly blind" when you are trying to get a job. Once you have all the facts, it shouldn't take you more than a minute to make your pitch and get the job.
2. Establish your credentials early
Once Captain Quint gets the council's attention. he tells the attendees at the council meeting that they already know him. He is not planning to waste time going through his background; he is a known commodity. He knows that people hire whom they know.
Takeaway: Similarly, you may consider providing all the information to potential interviewers about yourself ahead of time so the focus of the meeting is on the job at hand. Also no one cares how you get their attention if you can solve their main problem cheaper, better, faster and smarter.
3. Explain the problem as you understand it
Captain Quint tells the people at the council meeting exactly what the problem is. i.e., there is a "bad fish" out there. He says he will catch this bird for them, but it isn't going to be a walk in the park based on what they are dealing with. He sets the proper expectations right up front; he does not try to oversell himself.
Takeaway: Let the employer know the difficulty of the job and set the proper expectations. If it were easy then they would have already found someone to do the job.
4. Get to the pain they all really feel---losing money.
Captain Quint then proceeds to tell the town council that they better act quickly. Time is not on their side, since if they don’t act soon and get rid of this problem, they stand to lose tourist’s business which would be disastrous and they would have to go on welfare during the winter. This is not something the town wants and get their attention quckly.
Takeaway: Unless you know what the company stands to lose, then they will have no urgency to hire you. You must put this in cold financial terms.
5. He is the one they are looking for
Captain Quint never mentions his competition but hints that they are better with a bird in hand versus two in the bush. He is there and others are not so he has the advantage since time is on his side and the shark is still out there causing havoc to the town.
Takeaway: Make a decision quickly otherwise you will be left with an inferior alternative that may not get the job done as well as you can.
Captain Quint firsts tells them how tough the job is and then informs the council his price which is $3,000 to find the shark and $10,000 to catch it and kill it. Obviously, the council is not looking to hire someone to spot the shark; he is telling the council meeting that he will catch it and kill it for $10,000.
Takeaway: Negotiate the price upfront and tell them what you are willing to do it for. At the end this is still a cold business agreement.
7. Don't make them think too much
Captain Quint then urges the council to not be cheap and make a decision real soon and they better be smart and meet his demands. He is not letting them think too much since if they do that then it will lead to all kinds of delays which he is trying to avoid for his own self interest.
Takeaway: Don’t let the company think too much since if they are thinking then you are losing.
8. Reinforce another pain---survival
Captain Quint does something very interesting by telling them that besides money their own lives are at stake and are they going to be cheap when it comes to saving lives?
Takeaway: Don’t dilly dally about money when survival is at stake. How much is that worth to the company?
9. Set the terms for taking the job
Captain Quint then tells them that if he is going to get the job, which he thinks he will based on the people’s reaction, he sets out his terms: He will work by himself since that is the best way he can deliver the result the people are looking for.
Takeaway: Tell the company how you like to do the job, which is your way of doing it to achieve success.
10. Close the deal with a strong emotion
Captain Quint then goes for the kill for what the people want but are afraid to say it that he will deliver to them the “head, tail and the whole damn thing.” Nothing more needs to be said.
Takeaway: Tell them what outcome they really want but are afraid to say it.
The mayor would give him the job right away, but protocol prevents him, so he sheepishly tells him, “We will take it under advisement.” Captain Quint departs without saying anything more than paying his respect to the people in a polite manner. People are sold.
And Captain Quint gets the job.
One more thing.
There is something very subtle going on that is right in front of our eyes but not that obvious. Quint has a hunter's presence which helps. I got this idea from Sylvia Ann Hewlett's outstanding book titled "Executive Presence." Quint has three pillars of a shark hunter's presence: gravitas, communication and appearance. Without these he would not be effective and close the deal.
Gravitas -- How you act?
Quint is tough and right to the point which is a hallmark of someone with gravitas. He does not have to explain much.
Communication -- How you speak?
Quint simply commands the room as everyone suddenly is listening to what he has to say.
Appearance -- How you look?
Quint looks and dressed like a hunter and no one is going to think otherwise.
All these three pillars combined to give Quint credibility that only he could have and makes it easier for the city council to give him the job and not waste time trying to look for other potential candidates. Quint provided the council members with all the information to make their decision on absolute value rather than make their decision on relative value of comparing and contrasting Quint with other hunters. Quint is simply a master communicator and a master salesman.
Though this is a movie but the way he makes the pitch is applicable for whatever job you are trying to get. If you can come up with a one minute pitch like Captain Quint, then I think you will increase your chances of making any type of sale whether it is business or getting a job. Remember, a company is going to hire a "shark" to kill a shark, so learn from this and win..