The reason for which the 2013 Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, made an impression on me and still stays in my mind is not its sleazy scenes or the record-breaking cuss words. It is for something more valuable: its spot-on portrayal of the art of salesmanship.
Remember the way Jordan Belfort (the DiCaprio character in the movie) convinces people to invest on what are penny stocks, which eventually go on to become blockbusters for his stockbroking firm, Stratton Oakmont? If there is one enduring takeaway from this movie, it is the most realistic manner in which it depicted salesmanship.
Well, I am not sure I would want you to emulate many of the protagonist’s acts in the movie, but one vital lesson that can be learnt from this movie is that the one who succeeds in marketing himself succeeds in life. And, what better occasion to display your sales skills than an interview? An interview is not merely any other face-to-face session: it is a session at which you sell yourself to your prospective employer.
This employer could turn out to be one for whom you could work for a long time. It is also possible that this is where you could grow to realize your potential. So, the interview being the session that tests your suitability to the organization, how to prepare for a job interview approach with an intention of succeeding becomes all-important.
In this blog, I will offer simple but effective tips for how you can sell yourself in an interview. Through this blog, I will set out to show you what I believe is the best way to prepare for an interview. I hope these 5 Tips on How To Sell Yourself in an Interview will equip you with the skills needed for selling your candidature to your prospective employer.
I will go about this blog in the following pattern:
- 5 tips on how to sell yourself in an Interview
- Preparing for a behavioral interview
- Technical interview preparation
- How to prepare for a manager interview
- Interview preparation checklist
- How to prepare for a video interview
5 Tips On How To Sell Yourself In An Interview
Come on, use your brains! Why do you have go about saying what you have done or where you have been? Doesn’t your resume say as much? Instead, tell how that experience can help the present company overcome its pain areas.
The most important aspect of selling is the pitch for your candidature. Remember, the first 30 seconds are when you make the highest impression. Learn what you pack about yourself in those short seconds. Do questions like how can I introduce myself during interview and how do I sell myself in 30 seconds run around in your mind? Don’t worry. They don’t have to be as intimidating as they sound.
Think about it from this perspective: what if you were the hiring manager and were interviewing a potential candidate? The most important value proposition is what she can bring to the table that is going to address your organization’s needs, right? When you understand this much, it becomes easier for you to pitch yourself to the company. The groundwork to doing this, of course, should be a sound understanding of what the organization is doing.
HR Managers are like other human beings at many aspects. Like all of us, they too like to hear stories. Storytelling is a powerful technique for selling yourself. Put all your achievements and your candidature in interesting ways, but with a vital slant: how your skills and experience can help them. In the movie, what does Jordan Belfort start with every time he picks the phone and calls investors? What is in it FOR THEM! The only way you can make an impression is to make your story relevant to the organization and how you can make it happen.
In my experience, I have seen many candidates doing very well at the interview in terms of their power of expression, but have not gone on to get selected. The reason: Their way of facing the interview was excellent, but these candidates failed to convey just how their skills and experience could add value to the organization.
You may have put your experience and your achievement across very eloquently, but it is likely the hiring manager would not have been convinced because it did not show a connect between these and how these are going to help the organization with which you want to work. So, make sure you align your achievements with the requirements and expectations from the position you are being interviewed for.
Of course, you need to tell a story, but make sure you stick to the main points and don’t become boring! There is nothing more embarrassing than to start off by piquing your manager’s interest, only to see it punctured midway through the interview. The rule is, make it crisp by sticking to the point and not meandering. This is all the more useful for how to prepare for a group interview, because you will be answering many people.
The saying, “Simplicity is the highest form of sophistication” is attributed to many geniuses including, apocryphally, to Leonardo DaVinci. Whoever said it is not the point; the essence of what was said, is. Making a great presentation doesn’t mean you have to use complex words. Interviewers look more for actual achievements. Heavy jargon can put them off. Convoluted, grandiloquent expressions are fine at your literature class, but this is a job interview.
Now, you have the hiring manager or the interviewer talking to you. Why not make it interesting for them by provoking and teasing them into asking you questions? This will make the interview interactive and engaging. It will also spark interest in you.
Let me next move on to briefly explaining the other sections of this blog:
Preparing for a behavioral interview
A behavioral interview is self-explanatory: It is an interviewing technique by which the candidate is assessed more in relation to the actual manner in which she conducted herself in a given situation, rather than on her academic credentials or general work experience and traits. So, preparing for this kind of interview requires you to face common interview questions to be prepared for by making a list of some carefully chosen episodes in which you behaved in a manner that appealed to your organization. I would suggest that you take the STAR approach towards facing a behavioral interview:
Situation: Explain the situation in which your behavior was needed to be demonstrated
Task: Show for what task this was required
Approach: Tell what approach you took to solve the issue
Result: Finally, also say the result that was achieved by taking this behavioral approach.
Technical interview preparation
A technical interview being what it is; it calls for some in-depth preparation. There is nothing to get scared about a technical interview. In fact, for many technically competent candidates, it is much easier to shine at this interview than at one that tests their personality traits. Interview questions to be prepared for will help you a lot because the technical round could also call for a learning of how to prepare for a second interview.
As can be expected, brush up your fundamentals. This is very important, because you may have been working on projects at which you put your skills to use, but spelling out the smaller details can stump you.
And then, also make sure you pick up at least one project from your portfolio at which you excelled technically, and go on to explain these.
Another very important area to polish is the ability to carry out tasks remotely during the interview. Tasks like coding can sometimes be glitchy when done remotely, which can ruin your chances if you are preparing for final interview. Issues like this have to be taken care of.
How to prepare for a manager interview
A managerial interview too calls for some preparation, because this is not any other position for which the candidate is being interviewed. You should be of a different kidney here. The focus here should be on how your managerial skills will help the organization achieve results or its vision. You should accordingly present these skills. In addition, finessing your presentation and communication, plus emphasizing on your leadership qualities can add value and help create a strong impression. No matter how good you could be at these, never lose sight of the most important aspect: how these can be of use to the organization. If this alignment is missing, everything goes haywire.
Interview preparation checklist
I intend to make a small interview checklist here with the intention of supplementing all that I narrated in the paragraphs above. So, here goes my interview preparation checklist:
- Prepare: Make the most meticulous preparation about the company you are appearing for the interview. Find out who is going to interview you. Make a LinkedIn search about that person. This will prepare you for the kind of person you are going to meet at the interview.
- Match: See how your skills and experience match with the job requirements
- Anticipate: Anticipate the possible questions you could face. Place yourself in the shoes of the interviewer
- Interact: Try to see if any of your friends or classmates have got into the organization for which you are appearing for the interview. This will give you a lot of useful information about the company
- Relax: Be sure not to appear tense. Deep breathing can help tremendously in helping to keep your nerves
- Clothe: Dress up rightly for the occasion. It creates a great impression about you
- Polish: Check with your contacts and get their opinion about your mannerisms, body language, etc.
- Follow-up: A week or two after the interview, follow up with the company to check the progress. This will give you good information about whether to wait or go ahead with your next plans.
How to prepare for a video interview
Again, how to prepare for a video interview comes with its own dynamics that are additional to the qualities and techniques for regular interviews. Your preparation should be in tune with the nature of a video interview, which means that you have to take care of issues like the surroundings in which you are placed during the interview, your dress sense, ensuring that there are no disturbances during the interviews, and the like.
What do you think about this blog? Do you think all the techniques such as storytelling, for example, explained here, can help you sell yourself at an interview and land your dream job? If you think this blog has added value to your efforts, do write back to us. And yes, write back even if you felt it didn’t! That will help us improve our efforts at elevating your profile in your employer’s eyes.