How to Sell Yourself in a Job Interview
How do you make someone want to hire you?
Simple: Put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer and focus on his or her needs and you'll become an irresistible applicant.
- Find out as much as you can about the company: How is it performing? What is its mission statement and who are its customers? What are the interviewer's priorities and responsibilities? The more you know, the more you'll be able to ask informed questions about the job.
- Study the description of the job for which you have applied. Be clear on what is expected and if you have the background and skills to do it.
- Take an inventory of your strengths and practice discussing how they complement the requirements of the job. Write down specific examples that demonstrate these strengths and be able to speak fluidly and intelligently about them.
- Make a winning first impression at the interview. Be prompt, make eye contact and give a firm handshake. Dress one notch above what's expected for the position you're interviewing for.
- Look for common ground between you and the interviewer to establish a positive rapport and to stand out from the crowd. You may have the same alma mater or mutual friends. Be careful not to overplay this and look desperate.
- Turn what could be seen as potential weaknesses into strengths. You might say "I haven't worked in promotions but I coordinated getting the word out for my son's school carnival and we had twice as many people attend this year." Be calm and confident.
- Use specific examples to describe why you're a perfect match for the job. Ask probing questions to demonstrate a genuine interest in the position. In the process, interview the interviewer to find out why the position is open. Get a sense of what the turnover rate is at the company, what the position's job track is, and how the company keeps its employees happy. You're trying to find out if you want to work for that company as much as they're trying to find out if they want you.
- Demonstrate that you are a problem-solver. Identify an issue the company is facing or a problem you might potentially encounter in that job and discuss how you'd solve it.
- Make the interviewer feel good about hiring you. Be enthusiastic, responsive, truthful and friendly.
- Follow up with a thank-you note that reiterates your qualifications and mentions specific topics covered in the interview to trigger the person's memory about your winning interview.
- By focusing on the interviewer's needs, you'll take your mind off your nervousness. The interviewer will see a confident, insightful applicant.
- Always bring an extra copy of your re'sume'.