I was reading Becky John’s blog this week when it struck me that as communicators, what we’re really doing is similar to prepping for a job interview.

In short, we want customers to choose our product or service over others, just like we want to be chosen over other applicants. We learn about our customers (the job prospect) and think of ways to highlight our strengths and carefully consider the impact of our weaknesses (competitive research). We prepare an elevator pitch (“tell me a little bit about yourself”) and we connect with those we meet along the way (hello social media!). But most of all, we try to put our best foot forward at every interaction.

Lately, I’ve been fascinated by the way communications is being used in place of a business model trying to catch up. We preach, “Social media is a must.” It’s a way for customers to interview us. It allows us to highlight our strengths, address the impact of our weaknesses, pitch on the elevator and connect.

For the last few years, customer service has taken on this responsibility for communicating via social media. Companies rely on customer service to be a strong differentiating benefit as product/service parity and the economy require. Lately, though, competitive forces demand companies pay closer attention to the value they’re really offering customers. It’s not just lip service.

But how many companies have taken this full circle? Once we get the job (hooray!), are we continuing to interview ourselves or are we content to linger about the water cooler and talk about how we aced the interview?

—Jennifer Becker