The Most Overlooked Job Interview Skill Ever: Personal Selling

You SuckMost of us cringe when we hear these two words:

“Job interview.”

Because job interviews are perhaps the most stressful portion of the job search process, we do everything possible to prepare. We Google every aspect of the interview, look at videos for tips, read every article from every expert, etc.

And still, there is a huge chance that you’ll suck at your next interview. Here’s why:

You’re Not Yet a Good Salesman

Being a good salesman – “personal selling” – is the key to being successful on your next interview!

Think about the last time you went out to the store and bought something you really needed. You looked for a product that was cost effective and beneficial to you; the best available within your price range. As you looked on the shelf, you saw many products that would do the job, each with different features, reputations, and levels of support.

In the end, you chose the ONE that you knew would benefit you most in the long run, was cost effective and fit your needs best.

That, in simple terms, is what a job interview is.

When hiring, employers are looking for the absolute best available product. Their only goal, as a buyer, is to fill a specific need. So your only goal is to sell you (the product) to that employer (the buyer).

How Do I Sell Myself to a Company?

So how do you sell yourself to that company? Well, there is ONE important question you must be able to answer during the interview:

What does that company need? Once you find out the exact needs of that employer, you can tailor your product to that specific need.

The first thing to do is look at the job posting, which often tells you exactly what requirements are needed, what qualifications you must possess, and what duties the chosen candidate will perform.

Second, go to their social media accounts, website, Glassdoor and every other resource and discover how that company goes about their business. What is their culture? What is the work environment like? What do they do really well? What do they not do well? Other than generating profits, what do they stand for?

How Do I Become the Product They Want?

In order to become the product that the company wants, you have to tailor yourself to that companies needs and culture. You have to demonstrate the ability to fit in. You must prove your personal goals are aligned with the organizations goals.

For an example, if a company is looking for an accountant, they are, of course, looking for someone who is detail-oriented, good with numbers and focused. But they also may be looking for someone that is creative, solution-focused and good at multiple accounting platforms.

That is the product they’re looking for. So ask yourself:

Am I that product? During the interview, how do I demonstrate I am the right fit, cost effective, and the best overall choice?

The answer is simple: your answers and how you portray yourself should mirror exactly what they are looking for; you must deliberately place emphasis on the attributes they care about most! So talk about specific skills; tell them a story that reinforces that you are a master of those skills. Talk to them about your personal goals, and tie them directly to the mission of the company. Most important, just like that product on the shelf lists their best features and selling points, use quantified statements to show true value.

During your next interview, your only goal is to fill the need of the employer; to show you are the best available product. To sell… you. So for that 45 minutes, focus on personal selling… and convince the employer – the buyer – that you are the best available product on the market!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Secrets of the Hire!


Secrets of the Hire


Dayvon AuthorAbout the Author: Dayvon Goddard is the founder of Secrets of the Hire, where he focuses on professional and career development for college students and recent graduates through job interview consulting, scholarships, resume consulting, personal branding and LinkedIn workshops. To date, Secrets of the Hire has assisted 1100+ college students and recent graduates find and keep a career they love. Follow Dayvon on Twitter!



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