How to excel at Interviews

Selling yourself at interviews
Source: Image by Ibrahim Adabara from Pixabay and modified by SchoolUpdate

Globally, jobs are scarce and unemployment is in the increase. Finding a satisfying job now is harder than before. For every opportunity announced or advertised, there is every opportunity that qualified applicants who indicate interest will outnumber the available job offers. This creates stiff competition among the applicants thereby making it harder for an applicant to stand out in the multitude of others. So selling yourself at interviews now become a tough task for many applicants. Even though this may be the case, there is still a possibility of leaving an indelible impression on your potential employers. SchoolUpdate, therefore, compiles these tips on how to sell yourself at interviews to your potential employers and proof to them that you are the best choice they can make for the job.

Self Marketing Strategy

Your potential employer needs a perfect (or near perfect) person for the job at hand. He or she may not have known anything about any applicant before now. So, the call for interview extended to every interested applicant presents him or her with a golden opportunity to market himself or herself. How they handle this determines if they will win over their potential employer or not. Like physical products in the market, you need to sell yourself at interviews in a way that sufficiently convinces the panel that you are the best hand for the advertised job. How?
First, see yourself as a potential consumer of the product you are marketing. In what areas necessary for the advertised job are you unique? How does such uniqueness place you relative to other applicants? What exact or related previous experiences do you have? What about you, in connection with the job, makes you a vital addition to the team in the company?
Think about these and other related questions every potential buyer would want to ask about a product so as to decide whether to buy it or not. Prepare satisfying answers to all these questions as much as you can. This is self-branding as it more often than not leaves something with which the panel will use to identify you. However, do everything here with caution and sincerity.
Rather than make false claims with a view to selling yourself at interviews, let sincerity guide you because sooner or later, proofs will emerge. Do all it takes to gain as much experience as possible. Remember the significance of volunteerism in today’s employment considerations.

Develop Yourself

Writing an application or handing in a CV for every available job without meeting the necessary conditions for consideration is a total waste of time. Getting invited and eventually selling yourself at interviews involve much more. It is necessary to first of all assess yourself in terms of the needed qualification, skills, experience, expertise and so on. With an objective assessment, determine if you, as an applicant, are different from all other applicants who applied for the same job. This is necessary because if you are just like every other applicant, there is a very small and negligible chance of being remembered and considered for the job.
Detailed knowledge of the company, its products and services, strong competitors and so on can bring the necessary advantage here. Take some time and do things that improve your employability. Such include travelling, charity works, communal activities, acquisition of emerging skills and updating others taking on extra training and so on. Most applicants may take these things for granted; thinking they do not matter. But in reality, they remain incredibly valuable to employers.
The above, if adequately provided for, do not only say many things about your personality and dedication. They also give you the opportunity of learning new things which in the long run amount to self-improvement and development. You lose nothing in the end even when you did not get the job offer. It is indeed a win-win situation.
Remember to differentiate yourself and stand out during the interview. You are likely going to work in a team if hired so make it obvious at the interview level that you are someone that others can easily work with. If you are boring at the interview stage, it is a clear indication of how it will be when given the job. Cracking jokes and stirring a sense of humour is not a bad idea at all and it cannot in any way be counted against you. This alone can create a connection between you and your potential employer thereby making it easy for him to remember you.

Research on the Company and the Job

You may question the necessity of such research but I submit it to you that it matters a lot, especially to your potential employers. Most companies, even private employers, care a lot about applicants’ level of understanding or knowledge of what they (companies) are doing. That is why it is common to see or hear them ask questions during interviews about their business to test applicants’ knowledge and understanding of what their journey and aims are. So, to be on the safe side, it is advantageous to be armed with adequate information about the company before appearing for interview.
As ridiculous as this may sounds, the fact remains that quite a large proportion of applicants and job seekers who apply for jobs do not even know what the advertised jobs are all about. They just apply because something is advertised. It is like boarding a vehicle going a different direction from where you would like to go just because the vehicle is accepting passengers. You either end at a wrong destination or get frustrated along the way and begin to find your way back. Therefore, it is also of great importance to know exactly what the advertised job is all about. The offer may sound great and very enticing but if you are not conversant with the exact job role, work hours, risks, opportunities and other terms applicable to it, you cannot be sure that this is the right job for you. Under this scenario, selling yourself at interviews may be a mirage.

Factors to consider before Applying

Before you even turn in your application letter or CV for any advertised job opportunity, there are a lot of things you must consider and ascertain. Some of such factors, which later affect your effort at selling yourself at interviews, include:

Valued Skills
You do not just apply for the job because you are looking for one. It is very necessary for you to find out the set of skills that are valuable – first to the company and then to the advertised job. The possession of such skills is one of the important issues which necessitate interview. So, every employer will do anything possible to determine if a candidate possesses these values and skills that matter to the company and the job or not. For example, if the job will require excellent stress management capability, your employer will create a stressful atmosphere during the interview just to assess your measure in that aspect. In fact, such skills are what the employer will be looking for most in the successful applicants.Try and get that right.
Sometimes, the employers will expressly state what skills they are looking for. In some cases, they only give a hint. It is needful that the intending applicant reads through the job advert very carefully for a hint on this, if included in the advertorial. If not, one can still gather such information from the home and careers pages of the employer’s website. If that still does not help, do a general research on the advertised job. In most cases, what is advertised may not differ much from the general requirements. With such information, an applicant is empowered with a good idea of the kind of company he is applying to, which to a very large extent determines the kind of applicant needed to fill that role.

Recent Events in the Company
Changes do happen even in companies. The advertised job which has attracted you may have arisen as a result of such changes. Suffice it then to say that it is important for a serious applicant to know what the company has been doing or involved in recently. This will give you more information about the company. Aside from that, it can help stand you out during interview if you make a reference to such. This will sufficiently reveal your interest in the company and will likely leave a good and lasting impression on the interviewer. Thus, selling yourself at interviews can be made easier.

Key Persons
A show of your knowledge and familiarity with the key figures of the company and the people you are likely to encounter, if hired, automatically gives you an edge over other applicants. I tell you, even if you know just the name of the security personnel who man the gate is enough but you should do better than that. Knowing these key persons in the company will help you by giving you an idea of how you will fit in if eventually offered the job. Mentioning some names during the interview shows your willingness and passion to work in the company. Trust me, no employer will take that for granted. Finally, knowing the key figures of the company may give you an insight into who may be your interviewer. This could be very useful during the interview.

Any other Information
A little more research can reveal extra findings about the company which it does not advertise. Such information may include salary structure, company reviews, staff strength, company rating, global coverage and even the employment process itself. With this, you can have some inside knowledge of the company that most of the other applicants are unlikely to have.

Prepare for the Interview
Obviously, almost all applicants prepare for interviews. However, this is often done in a wrong way. You should have a list of possible interview questions that may be thrown at you and develop sufficient answers for them. As part of your preparation, outline the necessary personal or job related experiences which you can use to edge past others. If the job stresses any particular skill, prepare to demonstrate your mastery of the skill.
While I acknowledge the fact that the interview content is very important, making a strong first impression is a game changer on its own in the act of selling yourself at interviews. Dressing also matters a great deal. Smartly dressed applicants on the interview table are always a sight to behold and speaks responsibility. Some companies and employers may have a dress code (like suit). Try to conform to such dress code. It adds up to your advantage and shows that you care about the impression you are making. Conversely, some companies may go the other way round. Whatever be the case, ensure that your dressing matches the job role and the company’s standards.
Personal hygiene is also of utmost importance. Unhygienic staff create unsafe working environment and that can be hazardous to others and the company. So, lacking in the area of personal hygiene can be a major setback at interviews. Since your job will require you to work with people, whether as a team or with customers, you want to come across as friendly and approachable. Smile generously to show others that you are someone people could easily work with and also show that you are interested and passionate in the company. Wearing a straight face could make you appear cold, boring or difficult to talk to and work with. Employers or interviewers will not overlook this, no matter how qualifies you are. Remember to ask questions where necessary to show that you are interested and engaged.


Selling yourself at interviews to a prospective employer during interviews to the point of becoming the ideal applicant of choice can be very tasking. With these tips as your guide, the task can become simpler and easier. If you follow them, you can easily make a good first impression you want and stand out among other applicants.

You can also read our previous post on how to write a review essay that wins an A1 grade.

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