How to sell yourself in a job interview – seven essential tips from experts

Monday, August 15, 2022

A job interview is one of those rare times when you’re actively encouraged to blow your own trumpet and brag the day away.

You’re not supposed to hold back. Instead, it’s all about selling yourself to the people you want to work with, bigging up all your best bits and putting the most positive spin on your weaknesses.

That can feel uncomfortable.

Most of us aren’t used to being so assertive when it comes to talking about how great we are, so it’s always going to feel a touch awkward.

Jeremy Cassell and Tom Bird are here to help us out.

They’re two experts in presentation coaching, sales, and training, and have just teamed up to write Brilliant Selling, a new book all about how to become great at sales – so they know their stuff.

Ahead, they share seven key tips to sell yourself in an interview with confidence.

Remember what you can control (and what you can’t)

‘Firstly, focus on what you can control,’ Jeremy and Tom tell ‘You can control:

  • How you are feeling (your resourceful state)
  • How you dress
  • What research you do
  • What questions you anticipate
  • Rehearsing key parts of your ‘pitch’
  • Being on time
  • Listening to the questions
  • Following up afterwards
  • Your CV
  • First impressions

‘Remember, you cannot control:

  • The questions you get asked
  • When you get interviewed
  • Bias or preference of interviewer
  • The order in which you get interviewed etc’

Bear this all in mind. Try not to get bogged down in the bits you can’t control, and instead do your best to tick off the things that you can.

Understand how to influence people

‘Rather than focusing on selling yourself, think of how you can influence,’ the duo say.

‘No-one likes being sold to and yet everyone is open to influence.’

Jeremy and Tom came up with the C3 Model Of Influencing, which they reckon forms the foundation of influencing and charisma, and is made up of three things: confidence, credibility, and connection.

‘To influence an interviewer effectively you have to have all three in place,’ they explain.

‘Confidence – find ways to ensure you are in a resourceful state.

‘Credibility – comes from Latin credo which means believe – you have to be believable. In interviews this comes from voice, assertive body language, first impressions and research and preparation, which in the case of an interview means you have knowledge of both the business and the position you are applying for.

‘Connection – people “buy” from people they know, like and trust. In interviewing you must find ways to accelerate this process – matching and mirroring the body language, voice and words of the interviewer, listening carefully, asking good questions back, smiling, etc.’

Get your physical and mental state in shape

Remember: you’re in control of your own state – your feelings, your thoughts, your state of mind, how you feel physically.

‘Breathe from your diaphragm, use Amy Cuddy’s power posing, and think of a time when you were confident and assertive and relive the past experience – this will help in the present,’ say Jeremy and Tom.

Anticipate questions

The expert sellers advise: ‘Put yourself in their shoes. What would you ask? What do they need to know to identify whether you are the right candidate?

‘Think through the five most difficult questions you don’t want to get asked. Prepare and rehearse your answers.’

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