Selling Yourself in an Interview Without “Selling” at All

car salesman

For any company that has a winning attitude, nothing matters more than getting the right people in the right positions. Therefore, as a job applicant, during the interview process you must make a compelling case that you are intelligent, competent, autonomous and knowledgeable in the desired areas.

However, it’s a catch-22. If you come across as attempting to convince an interviewer that you possess these qualities, you’re much more likely to appear desperate rather than well-rounded.

Essentially, the moment you begin to directly brag and display fake arrogance is the moment you lose an interviewer’s interest and your attractiveness as a job candidate. People hate being sold, and hiring managers, recruiters and HR representatives are just people, after all.

This begs the question: How one goes about influencing a hiring manager without coming across as disingenuous and needy for a job? The answer is subtlety. The only way you can “sell” the interviewer is to let them draw their own conclusions about you.

Luckily, there are certain things you can do to increase the odds that their conclusions about hiring you will be positive and welcoming. Below, you’ll find some key information that will allow you to sell yourself without actually “selling” yourself.


Sell Without Saying a Word

When an interviewer meets you, they instantaneously categorize you as a winner or loser, sometimes simply by how you present yourself. Use this knowledge to your advantage and let your looks, posture and facial expression sell for you prior to even speaking your first word.

For instance, when you greet an interviewer with a full smile and alert eyes, they are much more likely to associate you with positive qualities. Your facial expression should say, “I like you.” People like others who like them and tend to associate those people with desirable qualities such as integrity and competency. Which means they’re much more eager to want these people around the office.

Regarding dress, know that opposites do not attract. You’re not likely to be perceived well at a bank if you underdress for the interview. Don’t intentionally stick out. It will not build the desired rapport you need. Familiarity breeds fondness.

Moreover, studies have shown that matching posture and movements builds trust and mutual respect. Without being obvious, do your best to mirror the interviewer’s body language.


The Most Effective Interviewing Preparation

People (interviewers included) are interested in themselves and their own needs. Therefore, if you don’t know what your audience or a hiring manager wants, you can’t sell them.

Luckily, the job description will give you more evidence than you need to formulate an accurate thesis as to what this person wants in an employee.

For instance, if a job description states the employer wants someone who is autonomous, take time the evening before the interview to write down a story or example of your autonomy. With that example in mind, work it into the conversation at the appropriate time. Through the anecdote, the hiring manager will naturally see that you are the type of person who will allow them to focus less on managing you and more on the necessary tasks they need done.

If they list a certain skill you have in-depth expertise with, formulate questions that display your knowledge of the topic. Don’t wait until the end of the interview to present these inquiries, as an interviewer’s assessment of you is likely to be firmly set by then. Rather, ask away when the topic is touched upon.


During the Interview

Speak without criticism; nobody wants to be around a pessimistic person. Interviewers are more readily sold by those who have a positive, happy outlook and perspective on life. In a genuine manner, convey thoughts that discuss success and, rather than talking about insurmountable hurdles, discuss how you plan to overcome any obstacles.

Utilize your rate of speech as an influential measure. When you’re making important points during the interview, it’s helpful to pause for a second after each statement and allow the hiring manager to mentally digest what you just stated.


In the End

The phrase “sell yourself” is popular when it comes to the job search. The basic idea is sound, but too many people lose any nuance in the attempted execution. “Selling yourself,” when it comes to interviewing, is really about paying attention to the cues you receive and send, both before and during the interview.

Concentrate less on “selling yourself” and more on putting your best foot forward

How do you like to build rapport with an interviewer? Share your best tips in the comments!

This post originally appeared on Career Attraction.

Image: Flickr

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