Sales is an art, and if you’re the artist, are you “hall of fame” worthy? Don’t worry; we’re not here to judge if you can sell media space or a pen to a customer. We’re not preparing you for a sales position in a company. This article is all about how to sell yourself in a job interview.. Easy? Relieved?
Let’s bust that illusion because selling yourself for an interview is tougher than you think. In a world of 7.7 billion people, half of which are competing for a job, can you ace that interview and grab your dream job even if you have no experience? With some simple tips, you can.
Get ready to be surprised because you probably never paid attention to the tips I’m going to talk about.
Why Should You Read On?
We’re working in a world where we have more options than ever before. We have full-time remote jobs, hybrid working models that offer flexible timings, and digital nomadism. Having a job isn’t slavery anymore. In many organizations, you have the upper hand in choosing your preferred work model and creating your own career path. You have more choices and freedom than you had just two years ago. These tips can help you not only ace your job interviews (that’s the main thing, of course) but can also help you create an impact in any kind of public conversation where influencing someone is required.
How to To Sell Yourself During a job Interview
Everything is a rat race but why be a rat when you can be a tiger? The whole idea of selling oneself during a job interview is to stand out and not blend in. You can do so by showcasing your unique personality, being original and solving problems for the interviewing company. Apart from your skills and qualifications, there are a few more factors that can help you land that job. Here are 7 tips that will help you with all that you can do to sell yourself for a job.
1. Don’t Hear A “No” Before They Say It
I’ve been a business development professional for thirteen years. The number of times I’ve heard a “no” from potential clients broke my heart more than rejections from my crushes ever did.
That’s a given with any sales job. In the initial years, the problem wasn’t the rejections. The problem was me “expecting” a tenth rejection just because the nine before that didn’t sign a contract with my business. That changed the way I pitched or talked. If you think that rejection doesn’t have a tone or body language, you’re wrong. It shows. You become less convincing and lack confidence when you’re talking to someone with that kind of mindset. Once I changed my mindset, everything changed for the better.
It’s no different for your interviews. If you’ve been rejected by interviewers before, the chances are that you’ve lost some confidence and start expecting the worst. You think like you know it’s a “no” the next time too. If you think like that, you’ll act and talk like that. If you expect that, you’ll get that.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Every new job interview is a brand new opportunity and experience.
- The interviewers are not the same people you spoke to before.
- They’re not the same company.
Here’s what you can do:
- Start afresh.
- Don’t self-reject.
- Treat this like your first ever interview. Don’t dwell in past rejections.
Your lack of confidence will show because you’ll end up sounding dull, nervous, and anxious. Some of us even stutter when we’re not confident. This can be a big deal-breaker for some interviewers. The first impression is a lasting one. The interviewer should feel like they’re hiring someone confident in what they’re talking about. Nothing sells like confidence. Remember that.
2. Get Straight To The Point
A lot of you have a habit of going on and on without realizing that you’re going on a tangent. You probably love to talk, and that’s perfectly alright. However, it’s important to understand that you’re in an interview and everyone’s time is precious, including yours. Besides, nobody wants to talk about marketing or web development and be led to what your cat ate for dinner.
Here’s what could happen if you’re exhibiting verbal diarrhoea:
- You’ll sound vague.
- You’ll bore the interviewer with stories they don’t want to hear.
- The interviewer will feel like you’re not interested in what they’re talking about.
- The interviewer might think that you lack knowledge of the subject and deviate from the answer to cover that up.
Here’s what you can do to keep your answers in check:
- Be conscious of what has been asked and what you’re saying.
- If you have the urge to keep talking, try drinking a glass of water after you’ve answered their question in two or three statements. This can distract you to stop talking more than is required. I’ve tried this and it works.
- Time your answers in a mock interview before the actual one. You’ll know if you’re going overboard with your answers. Practice curbing that before the actual interview.
3. Neat and Clean Before The Sheen
Probably you’ve heard this many times by now. . Wear formal clothes for an interview. Yes, that’s right, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about “neat and clean.” That has nothing to do with your clothes. You could be having that fancy Armani shirt on but if your nails are dirty and you haven’t flossed your teeth, guess what will get noticed? Not that Armani shirt.
A lot of people think that interviews for remote positions don’t require any effort as they’re conducted via a video call. However, remote interviewers do notice it all. So, dressing formally and maintaining a neat and clean appearance is important. Moreover, being well-groomed and well-dressed can greatly boost your own confidence too.
Here’s what will happen if you’ve not taken care of your basic neatness and cleanliness before the interview:
- “Ewwwww”. That’s what the interviewer is thinking.
- Half a rejection is on the interviewer’s mind already because the first impression is external. Your hygiene habits talk before you do.
- You just wasted your money on a brand new Armani shirt and a pair of Gucci shoes in the hopes of grabbing a job. Now you see, that’s not what gets you the job.
Here’s what you can do to steer clear of embarrassing yourself and losing that opportunity:
- Brush and floss your teeth before the interview. Smile and talk in front of the mirror to check if a strand of bacon from this morning’s breakfast is still lingering in between your teeth.
- Keep your nails clipped and clean.
- If it’s an in-person interview, don’t bathe yourself in a strong cologne. Opt for a light fragrance and use it sparingly.
- Polish your shoes. If you think nobody notices that, you’re too far away from reality. You will be surprised to know that the first thing most people notice about someone is their shoes!
- If you’re applying for a remote job, you need to understand how to sell yourself in a video interview because this interview will be conducted via video conferencing. Make sure your hairdo is neat, your shirt is ironed, and you’re not wearing too much jewellery. That’s not an aesthetics issue, that’s a distraction issue.
A well-groomed interviewee has a chance to get an express entry into the final round!
4. Talk About Them First
It’s your job interview, and you’re supposed to talk about yourself, right? True, but to set yourself apart from the rest, you need to do something that most others don’t. Most people don’t research about a company and the industry before the interview. This means that all their interviews are the same. They hop on interview calls one after the other, offering none of the interviewers anything impressive to get brownie points. Take this chance and turn the interviewer’s “yes meter” up.
Here’s what you can do to impress the interviewer:
- Do a mini-research about the company and what they’ve accomplished in recent times. It could be their marketing campaigns, a new product, or a reward they earned in their industry.
- At the start of the interview, where the interviewer and you are indulging in an initial conversation, try to insert a statement about their product/services/accomplishment in a seamless manner. Relate it to your skills or accomplishments.
- Go a step further and address one of the pain points of the company. The best way to sell yourself for a job is to give a recommendation or suggestion and follow it up with a subtle hint of how you can handle the challenge with your skills and expertise.
How does this impress the interviewer?
- The hiring manager will know that you’ve researched the company, which showcases your interest in the job.
- When you talk about a challenge or about something that you noticed and can fix with your skills, you immediately become one of the potential hires.
- Talking about them before talking about yourself makes them more interested in you because you already displayed your interest in them.
Next time you’re scheduled for an interview, remember it’s not just about you. Make it about them and about how you fit in the company to enhance their business or fix their problems. You can get a better idea of what I’m saying from my video where I explain how you can create an elevator pitch for interviews.
5. Be Spontaneous
While many of us have a habit of rehearsing too much before interviews, spontaneity has its own charm. It’s okay (and normal)to rehearse a few things to check that you’re well-timed with your answers and are well-groomed. However, rehearsing and mugging up every probable answer is a bit too much.
Here’s why you shouldn’t be over-prepared for a job interview:
- You’ll sound scripted, and your communication will lack a natural flow.
- You might end up missing the little details in the interviewer’s questions.
- You’ll lack the ability to improvise your answers with examples and stories that could be relevant and impressive to the interviewer.
- You’ll be blank and nervous if asked a question that you’re unprepared for.
Here’s what you can do instead:
- Prepare for the timing of your answers and not for what the answers will be.
- Be spontaneous. Infuse experience, creativity, and research into your answers to make them more relatable and believable.
- Include relevant examples of your past accomplishments in relation to the questions to establish your credibility. Everything else is “fluff.”
Spontaneity can spark unpredictable conversations that can lead you and the interviewer to find common interests! More brownie points to sell yourself for a job.
6. Know What To Talk When You Talk About Yourself
You don’t have to tell the interviewer that you are against the idea of pineapple on pizzas unless you’re being hired as a food reviewer. Customise your introduction according to the job you’re applying for. Your skills and expertise need to be just right for the interviewer to be interested in hiring you. If it’s a content writing job, your IT troubleshooting skills don’t belong there. Less is more.
Here’s what you should include in your cover letter or introduction in an interview:
- Your name and what you do. For example, if you’re applying for a content writing job in the mental health space, you can say:
“Hi, I’m Matt and I write compelling blog posts that give actionable advice. I include real-life examples and case studies that help readers understand their conditions and coping mechanisms better.”
- Talk about what led you to choose this profession. Here’s an example,
“I’ve always been a curious person who tries to dig out all possible solutions to any given problem. This interest coupled with my qualifications led to a successful career in crisis management.”
- Talk about what you can do for the company. Here’s another example for a database architect,
“I see that you’re facing trouble with managing too much data. Since you’re an e-commerce company, you have large amounts of relevant data that can be used for consumer behaviour predictions. To strategize your next marketing campaigns better, I can help build the right database solutions for you.”
Who you are, why you chose what you do, and what you can do with what you chose? Your customized answer to this is your introduction for the interviewer.
7. Control Those Expressions And Gestures
Being all animated and using hand gestures for an interview is great, especially if it’s a video interview. For a remote job interview, you need to emphasize some statements and phrases that can reflect your voice’s tone and slightly exaggerated expressions. You want to be more convincing and are eager to get that job offer in your mailbox tomorrow. Know that overdoing it will have the opposite effect.
What happens when you overdo expressions and gestures in an interview:
- You could appear too jarring and dominating without intending to come across as that. This can lead to you not only overdoing expressions but also straying from the topic.
- Trying to sound and look too convincing can make the interviewer feel like you’re exaggerating and desperate for the job.
What can you do instead?
- Use expressions, and gestures but be subtle and don’t constantly use your hands while talking.
- Try modulating your voice for emphasis (only where needed) instead of frequent gestures or body movements.
Try indulging in some calming techniques before the interview to have the right pace of talking and to avoid exaggerated expressions. This will also help you ward off any nervousness or anxiety before the interview.
Bonus Tip: Remember That You’re Hired For Who You Are
What you do is what a lot of other people do too. Many people have the same qualifications and skills as you do. Hundreds and thousands of people could have a higher degree or better skills than you. If that’s the scenario, how do you sell yourself for a job? Does this mean that you don’t have a chance of landing that position you applied for? If you’ve learned anything from these tips on how to sell yourself for a job, you’ll know that besides skills and qualifications, there’s one more thing that plays a big role in recruitment.
More than for what you do, you’re hired for who you are.