Selling Yourself in the Interview

As 2016 ambles forward, more recruiters are going to be hiring than ever before. Not only are Millennials taking the job market by force, but plenty of current employees are planning on making a job transition, both inside and out of their own career paths. With all of that competition, selling yourself matters. It’s essential to stand out from the pack and highlight what makes you more hireable than the Joe Shmoe interviewing before you and the Jane Doe interviewing after you.

Know What You’re Looking For

The first thing to know before you even go in to interview is what you want out of your working environment. 20 percent of employees in the workforce right now are determined to find a new job before the end of 2016, according to a survey by The same survey found that, besides salary, the most important factors that come to light when considering a new positions are job stability, good benefits, location, good boos, and good work culture. Consider, before you plow headlong into a new position, which of these perks are important to you and whether or not you can live with your new position in the absence of any of these factors. If you’re one of the lucky ones balancing the call for multiple positions, weigh your options against each other, and shoot for the best fit.

Skills, Skills, Skills

Having the right skillset for the job is imperative in today’s work environment. The Skills Gap is a very real issue, with a Corporate Voices for Working Families and Civic Enterprises study finding that more than half of business leaders think it is difficult to get non-managerial employees with the necessary skills, training and education that they need. As the skills become more complex, the gap becomes larger, with IT firms stating that a whopping 75 percent are understaffed or are currently looking to hire. While you don’t have to get every single certification out there to prove that you’re qualified, bringing concrete examples of what you do know can help your chances out greatly.

Soft Skills & Emotional IQ

Perhaps even more important than hard skills are soft skills. Soft skills refer to a set of personal attributes that enable somebody to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people, perhaps the most important of which is Emotional IQ. Even if you’re the best programmer in the world, if you can’t work on a team, you won’t get hired by somebody that needs a team player. On the flipside, even if you’re not the best programmer in the world, you might still get hired because you possess an aptitude for learning and an attitude that says, “I can work with anybody and love it”. This type of flexibility and positivity has been tested for and found in 90% of high performers and explains 58% of success in the workforce across industries, according to some.

Ask Good Questions

In any interview, the best candidates don’t merely answer questions, but they ask them too. Hiring managers want to see that applicants are engaged and excited to work wherever they ultimately end up. If an interviewee isn’t asking questions, how does that person know that they company they are applying for is going to be the right fit for them? Asking questions that show a proactive nature and evidence of critical evaluation are perfect. Here are two examples queries listed by US News as two of the “smartest interview questions you could ever ask”:

  • “If you were to rank all the people who have done this job in the past, tell me about No. 1 and why you would put them there?”
  • “You’ve described this as a place that welcomes innovation. Can you tell me about a time when you failed at something, or when someone else in the organization failed at something? How did the organization deal with it?”

Be Yourself

Selling yourself matters but the most poignant piece of advice that you can follow during an interview is to just be yourself. We all know that there are plenty of toxic leaders out there that probably shouldn’t be managers, the type of people that are crotchety and mean, quite possibly sadistic, and quick to put down anybody that challenges their authority. These managerial types are easy to spot right off the bat by the way they make you feel like a doormat during the interview. Fortunately there are plenty of other managers who are not like that, and these are the ones that you want to work for. Imagine, for a second, that you sail through the interview with the first, mean boss, because you act like another cog in the wheel who will mindlessly follow orders.

The problem is that once you land that job, your true colors will shine eventually. Be yourself from the get-go. As Liz Ryan mentions on Forbes: “You can laugh at a job interview. You can be yourself. You can make a joke. You can be real. I talk to hiring managers all day, and I’ve never heard one of them say ‘I talked to a job-seeker who seemed very qualified, but was too real.’”

Ultimately, know what you want, know what you can do, know what you’re willing to do, ask questions, and be yourself. This is the road to success in the 2016 workforce. The sooner you find yourself doing these things, the sooner you will have landed the job of your dreams.

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