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The Golden Rules of Selling Yourself in an Interview

Many candidates get into trouble when they attempt to “sell” themselves in an interview. Often, they end up coming across as overly eager and desperate, thus turning the hiring manager off to the prospect of recruiting them.

In order to prevent this from happening and truly make a great impression, it’s important to touch upon the fundamental flaws of “selling oneself” as well as discuss some tips on to how consistently stand-out as an applicant.

Fundamental Flaws With Selling Oneself

Selling YourselfFirst and foremost, nobody likes to be sold. People can see right through it and they hate it. Regardless of whether it is an employee or a car, the consumer wants to feel as if they are buying a solution to a problem. Begin to take the focus off yourself and start to think in terms of the employer’s needs. Then, formulate the ways in which you can provide a solution.

Also, understand that “selling oneself” is an overly vague target. Thousands of studies have shown that getting specific is one of the most critical steps to reaching a goal. Instead, strive to convey that you are a knowledgeable, confident, thorough and engaging candidate.

Lastly, by focusing on an end-goal of selling yourself, you risk coming across as arrogant or desperate. Or even worse, both. The most efficient way to self-promote is to allow the conversation to become a give and take. If perceptive, the interviewer will realize that you are intelligent, capable and have or can acquire the desired skills through natural dialogue.

Interviewing Tips That Land Job Offers

1. Understand that interviewer is just as prone to feeling badly about rejection as the interviewee is. Show the hiring manager that you care, are interested in what he or she has to say, and you’re well ahead of the game. Regardless of position, industry or company, one thing that every interviewer you meet will have in common is an inherent need to feel important.

2. Adapt to the interviewer’s personality style, don’t ever expect them to adapt to your way of interviewing. Know that each employer will have a different style of conducting themselves.

Some interviewers will just want the answers and that’s what you should give them. Others will want to have a casual conversation and, if they do schmooze with them. Use your intuition.

3. If you feel yourself getting nervous, shift your focus from your internal dialogue to what the interviewer is saying. By paying attention to your surroundings, you are able to concentrate less on the internal disorder and more on the conversation at hand. If you’re 100% focused on what the other individual is saying, psychologically you cannot be nervous.

4. Know that people hire people that they like. One of the best ways to warm an interviewer up to you is a sincere compliment. Determine what you like about the company and politely convey that to the individual. People like others who make them feel good about themselves.

5. Keep your cool. In a job interview setting when an employer is making a decision about competency and fit within an organization, the most successful candidates display a consistent vocal tone.

In the End

It’s sort of ironic. You have to sell yourself during a job interview, however the moment the interviewer feels you are “selling” yourself, you’re going to appear as over-eager and desperate. It’s only when you begin to see interviewing as less of a question and answer session and more of a collaborative conversation, you naturally instill confidence in the employer.


ken_sundheim_csKen Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement Sales Recruiters, a New York City based executive search firm. On the topic of job search, interviewing and recruitment, Ken has been published over 600 time on sites including Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Monster, Career Builder, and Yahoo! 

SmartRecruiters is the hiring platform with everything you need to source talent, engage candidates and make great hires. Check out more interview tips on our blog.

Ken Sundheim

Ken Sundheim

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement, a New York City based executive search firm. On the topic of job search, interviewing and recruitment, Ken has been published on Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Monster, Career Builder, and Yahoo!

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