Interviews – selling yourself

Interviews (selling yourself)


Ever wanted to know how to ace an interview?

There is a long contested debate about how to best approach the interview process.

Most part of this debate hangs on minute details – on small occurrences such as ‘if’ the interview asks what your greatest weakness is…. or how you should shake his/her hand…

Contrastingly, rather than being helpful, or even memorable, such debate and conjecture just makes the person about to attend the interview even more nervous.

So what, then, are the few overriding factor(s) that decide whether or not you ace an interview?

1. The degree to which you can convey certainty about your life choices.

How much certainty you convey about yourself, your accomplishments, and the belief you transmit to the interviewer about your competence is THE most important skill to work on. If you can’t convince yourself that you are a worthy employee, you have no hope of convincing someone else! It is recommended that you spend time each day leading up to your interview, getting your CV/resume up to date, and practise going through it with someone, positively describing the steps and choice you have made in your life that have brought you to the interview room. You want to go into detail about how sure you were when you decided to transfer to that new job because you knew it was the right career decision and you would learn and develop faster by taking that decision.

Don’t just be certain about your timeline, be certain about your skills – even if you don’t know right now how to do something, you sure as heck can study up the nights/days before once you have landed the job! So forget about the consequences, because your job at the interview isn’t to THINK, it isn’t to decide whether you are good enough, it is to sell yourself in the best possible light and then, if you don’t think you can manage later, then and only then, once you have the job offer, should you check with yourself to decide if are or aren’t willing to put in the hours to learn what you don’t yet know.

2. How memorable you are

Employers and Human Resource managers don’t have time to read hundreds of applications, they skim and search for keywords. It’s a bit hasty sometimes, and you may be skipped over for something you would be perfect at, but that’s just unlucky – so what can you do to shine in your interview? BE MEMORABLE. Out of the hundreds of applications (CVs / resumes) out there, what makes you different? How can you add the keywords in the job description to your application? What can you put in your cover letter to make it more personable, to paint a picture so that when someone picks it up they pause to think, “Hey, this is kinda interesting! Look at this…’ I’ll leave that part to you – just keep fairly in tune with the company or recruitment agency you are sending your documents to.

After you have been selected for interview, try to stand out again. Wear something that looks quality – because you’re quality. Hand over another copy of you CV / resume, why? Because you think ahead and, what’s that? It’s printed on 300gsm paper – so it feels weighty and thick (i.e. QUALITY) in the interviewer’s hands.

During the interview tell your background in a positive tone and let the interviewer know more about you as a person and maybe even throw in a story that shows you off to have had good character in the past or shown some great qualities such as leadership? It can only help tremendously.

A great way to be memorable is to be referred by an existing employee of the company or through a mutual friend. Out of all the ways to get a job, this is by far the best – instantly you won’t be another sheet of A4 paper piled on a desk and starting from scratch. Instead, you with be ‘so and so in the Marketing department’s University friend from such and such a place’! You have an instant conversations starter, you will also be remembered for the less conventional route to the interview room, and so have a massive advantage over the other candidates. Go you! One suggestion is to try building up your network through friends via LinkedIn or other social media / in-person local networking groups to get these opportunities. This tactic really helps if there is a particular company you dream of working for.

3. Whether you will mesh with the existing team

The company wants its existing employees to get on well with any new hires, it stops conflicts, it maintains the dynamic and prevents any strange vibes from destroying worker morale. If you put someone in a team who immediately hates being there, this attitude will infect everyone else, and the existing team will desert the ‘rotten’ ship in their droves. No employer wants this. So your aim is to find a moment in the interview to direct the interviewer’s thoughts to an image of you working perfectly with the current team. A way to do this is to ask as a question, how the interviewer, with what you have said so far, thinks you will fit into the team.

If he is unsure, you can say how you have fitted into teams really well in the past, and have even managed to boost efficiency or moral on several occasions – in fact you pride yourself on being positive in the workplace. Remember, it’s up to you how you convey the above points. You should speak with assuredness and really try and get that image of you as a well-functioning team member into your prospective employer’s mind.

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