On the first two parts of this series, I wrote about what to expect from the interview process, and also the things we should consider when preparing for it.
In this third entry, I will be focusing on how to sell yourself during the interview process, a topic that is as important as the previous two.
The way we project ourselves before, during and after the interview can have a tremendous impact on whether we get hired or not. Research has shown that more than 50% of the time, people hiring can base their decision on how the candidate enters the room or how he or she behaves during the interview.
In a similar way, the confidence that a candidate projects can also influence the outcome of the interview. To make things a bit more interesting, research has also shown that more than 30% of the time, interviewers make their decisions on whether they will hire you or not during the first 90 seconds of the interview even when the average interview lasts 40 minutes to an hour. What these numbers suggest that it might not be what we have to offer but how we sell ourselves and how our interviewers perceive us what will get us a job (or not).
Selling yourself during an interview is a matter of projecting yourself and what you have to offer in a specific way. Although this will depend primarily on the type of interview we are going for, there are certain things we should always consider.
1. Projecting confidence can be a sign of leadership and trustworthiness. You need to show that you are the right choice for the position you are interviewing for. Do so by highlighting your expertise and qualities, while remaining realistic and not overselling yourself. The more you prepare for your interview, the more confident you will be. Remember that one of the main purposes of the interview is to get to know you and no one knows you better than yourself. Another aspect of projecting confidence is your posture. A wrong posture can send the message that you aren’t interested or that you are bored. Stand tall, shoulders back, chin up and try not to cross your arms or be fidgety.
2. When talking to someone, look at them in the eyes, listen carefully to what they have to say (nod if you agree with it) and smile. By doing these things, you will be projecting respect and interest in the position. Smiling will let them know that you are amicable and approachable.
3. Be respectful of seniority and always address people by their title. This will show your good manners and can give them a hint of your professional ethics.
4. Always say hi or goodbye with a firm handshake. I always recommend that you practice doing this since there are many non-verbal cues during a handshake. A firm handshake can convey warmth, commitment and even power, all three important traits on a confident and reliable candidate.
Your interviewer needs to perceive that you are THE candidate for the job and that your traits, personality and expertise is what they are looking for. They need to feel that you are the one who is going to help them achieve their goals. Projecting yourself the right way will definitely help you with that and remember that you might only have 90 seconds to do it, so prepare yourself and good luck!