By Samantha Krug, Lead Technical Recruiter –El Segundo, CA
Growing up, we are taught that it is not polite to brag or talk about ourselves for an extended period of time. This etiquette may be good practice when meeting new people and conversing with friends, but can prove to be detrimental when trying to land your next dream job. In an interview, it is important for you to highlight the relevancy of your skills and experience. However, how you showcase your background is the key! Here are some tips on how you can best market “you” during an interview:
Exhibit your experience
- Talk about the success that you’ve had in previous roles – not only where you have excelled in your work but also in the positive ways you have contributed to the team or work environment as a whole. To borrow (and paraphrase a bit) from a great man in history, ask not what a company can do for you, ask and tell them what you can do for the company.
- Companies are looking for people who are self-starters and self-sufficient and who can transition into the demands of a new role quickly. Emphasizing your ability to hit the ground running with limited downtime is crucial.
- Share relevant projects that you’ve worked on and completed in your personal time. This shows your passion for learning, and your eagerness to self-teach outside of your daily job tasks.
- Avoid bringing up anything negative about your past, whether personal or work-related. This will generally backfire and reflect poorly on you, regardless of your explanations. Companies don’t want to hire complainers, and don’t want to expose their teams to complainers either.
Be the solution they are looking for
- Research the company to get as much understanding about the position as possible. Be prepared to explain why you’re the right fit and how your background and experience is relevant to the job. The hiring manager should be able to imagine you as being a positive and contributing member to the team.
Present Your Best Self
- Be on time. 10 minutes early is on time. This is a no-brainer.
- “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Clichés are cliché for a reason. You make an impression on someone in the blink of an eye, and that first impression can be lasting. Always ask what the office attire is prior to your interview, and dress one step above that.
- Be positive, show your enthusiasm in the role, and pay keen attention to the interviewer. Remember, people hire people and never underestimate that beyond the need for skills, managers are evaluating you based on your authentic personality and the personal attributes you offer. Do not be afraid to ask questions and be equipped to answer “Do you have any questions for us?” Asking questions showcases your level of interest both in the quality and quantity of questions you ask. To list a few sample questions, ask the interviewer about themselves, their experience with the company, what they like about their job, and the future direction of the company.
- Avoid over-compensating for silence with nervous chatter. Silence is not always a bad thing. If you talk too much, you might inadvertently lead the interview in the wrong direction and talk yourself right out of the job.
- Preparation is the key. It’s okay to have a 20 – 30 second pitch that you mastered memorizing in selling yourself. Practice in the mirror or to your friends and you’ll be that much more confident when the big day arrives.
I hope you find the above tips helpful. Keep in mind that what you say is only half of the work – the way in which you physically present yourself can make just as much of an impact on the person interviewing you, and in some cases, more. Don’t forget to smile!