Self-Promotion: 8 Ways to Interview Persuasively
In our day to day lives we all want to be humble and modest, but let’s face it, being self-deprecating won’t give your prospective employer that lasting impression or memorable interview that you are going for. An interview is a time to get out there and shine. You need to sell yourself, be persuasive. Here are some ways to go about doing just that without coming across as over-confident or arrogant.
1) Get out of your comfort zone. Push yourself, allow yourself to brag a little bit. Put your selling points on the table. Don’t take it too far, but don’t be afraid. This is why you are here, to show them who you are and what you are made of. Don’t be shy, jump at the chance to shine. You want to paint them a glorious picture of what you have to offer so that the image and information stays with them. To be persuasive, use details that can be felt, seen and tested, including numbers to prove your points. Use details that can be visualized and remembered. You can even use metaphors or an analogy if you are cautious. Remember that this type of persuasive detail may be hard to come up with on the spot. Plan ahead and develop examples, be ready.
2) Demonstrate Credibility. Aspiring employees are often hired based on whom the interviewer feels can get the job done. They need to be able to count on you, they must trust you. This begins with believing what you say in an interview. To strengthen your credibility you must sell or demonstrate your expertise and also build a positive relationship with the interviewer, a connection if you will. To build a relationship, find common interests. It could be geographical location, hobbies, or feeling the same way about issues in your field. Don’t be afraid to ask about your interviewers experiences with work or to talk about life outside of work, to a point. This creates a feeling of a conversation more than just another interview.
Showing expertise may be as simple as being aware of the current trends in your industry. Read up and be aware before you interview.
3) Stick to the facts. You don’t want to launch into an awkward monologue about yourself full of your own thought and opinions. Instead, state some objective facts to highlight some of your accomplishments. Talk about awards you have received, stats you have improved, anything that is concrete.
4) Give yourself some credit, you aren’t a novice. Even if you are just getting started in a particular field, don’t make statements about just getting your feet wet or just starting out. Even if you are changing industries, every bit of experience counts. Most occupations have certain things in common. It may be sales, customer service, or a creative touch. You most likely have done something in your past experience that will benefit you in this new position, even outside of your work history. Plan ahead and be ready to use persuasive examples to highlight your legitimate skills and traits. Even though you may not have been “paid” for a particular skill doesn’t mean in can’t prove to be useful in your future employment.
5) Quote others who have seen you in action. Discussing statements that others have made about you can be a great alternative to “bragging” about yourself. It just sounds better to say something like, “I was recently told by my manager that he has really seen the results of my project development skills.” This type of statement can be very persuasive if done properly. It makes future employers think outside the box.
6) Toot your own horn. Most of us aren’t good at talking about ourselves, let alone tooting our own horn and convincing others to have confidence in our abilities. We have always been taught that we shouldn’t talk or brag about ourselves. While these are good everyday manners, it won’t pay off in an interview situation. Keep in mind that an interview is different than any other type of interaction. You must make an impression. You have such a limited amount of time for them to learn about you that you must make every minute count. Don’t miss out on a position you are qualified for due to a poor presentation.
7) Practice. “Selling yourself” may seem difficult but with practice it can become nearly automatic in an interview situation. Always be authentic and remember to be truthful. There is a big difference in speaking of tried and true talents and experience vs. selling false ideas. This will always come back to bite you in the end. Be compelling and concise when speaking of your strengths and what you bring to the table. In practicing and actually speaking out loud, you will hear where you need to make changes and avoid any awkwardness that may come across when speaking about yourself. You aren’t rehearsing a speech; your answers should vary slightly each time with the main points and information staying the same.
8) Don’t wait. Once you have your selling points and have practiced your presentations, jump in and interview. Don’t let too much time go by before using the skills you have been working so hard on. Be proactive and seek out opportunities to continue to practice.
Using the power of persuasion will become second nature the more you use it. Don’t be afraid to speak passionately and from the heart. Emotions are powerful, just don’t go overboard or talk to fast. It is always wise to be somewhat in tune with the interviewer. However, being around someone who is enthusiastic and positive can be contagious. Let them feel your energy and zest for life, it is bound to leave a good impression and persuade them to give you a chance.
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