Wondering how to sell yourself in an interview? Some of the tips you’ve heard might remind you of the things Mom used to tell you at fancy dinners: sit up straight, fix your collar, stop live-tweeting, etc. We’re here to tell you that Mom had a point because the little things can make a big difference when you’re trying to sell yourself in an interview. Take a look below to learn about a few small changes you can make to give yourself an edge.
You know how Google makes you click on those weird pictures of cars and fire hydrants to prove you aren’t a robot? Job interviews are kind of like that. Your prospective employer already has your resume and references. They know what you can do. Now they want to know that you’ve got personality, motivation, creativity, team spirit. Basically, they want to know you’re not a robot.
You don’t need to grin like the Joker, but let your smile show that you’re excited to be there. That’s going to score you points right off the bat. Plus, your interviewer’s going to find it easier to connect with you if you aren’t staring straight ahead like, well, a robot. The earlier you can establish that personal connection, the better. Start off with a genuine smile, and you’ll be well on your way.
2. Offer a Firm Handshake
Do you know why this is a cliched piece of advice? Because it works. It may seem old-fashioned, but when you squeeze someone’s hand, they notice. It’s a simple reaction to basic physical stimulation—but they notice. What’s an interview all about? Standing out. How do you stand out? You take advantage of every opportunity to get noticed. That’s how you market yourself when it matters most.
Speaking of noticing, observe that our little headline says “offer.” Don’t wait for the interviewer to extend their hand. Reach for a shake as you introduce yourself. Like everything on this list, it’s a tiny detail, but it conveys the confidence that you want to show every time you’re in an interview.
3. Don’t say “like”
Yes, it’s a verbal tic that many of us share. No, that doesn’t make it any less annoying to listen to. If you sprinkle this word into every sentence, the interview is a good time to stop. “Like,” and other filler words (“um,” “uh,” “just”) don’t sound confident or professional and won’t do you any favors when you try to make a strong first impression on an interviewer.
Most of us don’t pay close attention to our speech patterns, so you might not even know if you regularly use filler words. Before the interview, take some time to pay attention to your habits during conversations. Consider asking a friend or family member to point out when you add filler. A little bit of mindfulness can go a long way toward selling yourself in an interview.
4. Eye contact
In case you haven’t picked up on it, projecting confidence should be pretty high on your priority list. The interviewer isn’t going to believe that you’re the person for the job if you don’t act like you believe it. Of course, it won’t be easy to convince them if they can’t get a proper look at you because you’re staring at the table.
Eye contact expresses self-assurance. When you look someone in the eye, your body language says that you’ve got nothing to fear or hide. When you look away, it says that you’re scared, nervous, or uncomfortable. You don’t actively think like that when someone looks at or away from you, but your subconscious takes note—and your interviewer’s will, too.
In fact, according to Psychology Today, eye contact strengthens a person’s memory of a particular interaction or conversation with you. It also inclines people to like you more. If you want your interviewer to see you as a likable, memorable person, lay off the table-staring and open up those windows to the soul. You’ll be glad you did.
5. Do a Little Research
Think about it this way: if your friend sets you up on a blind date, you’d ask them about your date’s personality, occupation, and hobbies so that you could go in with a few talking points. Come date time, you would feel less worried about awkward pauses and would seem like you’d put in the effort to make the evening a success.
When you think about how to sell yourself in an interview or how to market yourself, you’ll realize that the process for either isn’t all that different from a blind date. There’s a good chance that you’ll face questions like, “Why do you want to work with us?” and “What are some specific ways that you see your skills and personality fitting into our office?” If you haven’t taken the time to learn about this employer, you won’t have an answer ready. Interviewers look for candidates who demonstrate enthusiasm and excitement at the prospect of joining the company, so rattling off generic answers may not do you much good.
It isn’t that hard to pick up on the traits a particular company values. Browse their website and take a look at their mission statement. Keep a close eye out for recurring phrases or ideas that come up in the pre-interview stages. Re-examine the job description to see what qualities they’re looking for. Check out the company’s LinkedIn. The more information you can gather, the more information you’ll have during the interview—and your interviewer will notice.
You’ve put in years of hard work at school and other jobs to prepare for your next opportunity. Don’t let the details hold you back. Each of these tips can help you feel more confident, which will help you impress an interviewer. It’s confidence that matters most, and you owe it to yourself to take care of the little things that can build it up.
If you’d like help getting your applications in front of the right interviewers, Burnett’s Staffing is the place to go. Contact us today—we’ll help you get on the road to your dream job.