Selling Yourself at the Interview

Discussion in 'Get The Job' started by ilovefrankee, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. ilovefrankee

    ilovefrankee New Member Professional

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    I've had in mind a write up on general interview etiquette for a while. This won't be a detailed overview of how to nail each stage of a rigorous process, think of it more as a best practice guide I've put together based on my own experiences of interviewing and being interviewed.

    First Impressions
    It's a cliché you've heard a thousand times but it's worth saying again: first impressions count for everything. I couldn't list the number of times I've met a candidate, AAA on paper, only to be let down upon meeting them in person. Think about how you carry yourself, your posture, eye contact, tone of voice and handshake. These are small things to be aware of which make a huge difference to people's perception of you. Someone who makes a great first impression speaks confidently, has a firm handshake, holds eye contact, can crack a joke, doesn't fidget in their seat and can greet and depart company elegantly.

    Nervousness
    This second point is related to the above. Everybody gets nervous before an important job interview, it's a direct follow-on from wanting the job: we value highly the possibility of a new role and resultantly are fearful of missing out on it. But very visible signs of nerves are detrimental to your performance and likely affect the accuracy of your answers. This next part is straight-up armchair-psychology, but the best interview 'performances' come from people with a clear sense of identity - and I count myself in this example.

    Don't think of yourself being interviewed by an interviewer, but more of selling your wares to an eager buyer: for me it was a case of selling my skills as an analyst to a firm looking for an investment-analyst-in-training. The best candidates I meet clearly think about their most valuable skills and how to sell them in an interview.

    Other
    Below are a few miscellaneous points worth making:
    • Have your 'elevator pitch' down pat. Practice it with friends, family, and classmates.
    • Don't go on too long with your answers: don't give one-word answers obviously, but an interviewer will probe for more detail when necessary.
    • This sounds paradoxical but I recommend avoiding rehearsed answers at the end of an interview. With so many guides and forums like this one available, it's obvious when people ask questions that have been prompted by these guides. Good questions I've been asked recently: "Has your firm had a good 12 months?", "What would you change here if you were in charge?", and "What do you do outside work?".
     
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  2. finbyme

    finbyme Lurker Professional

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    It's also important to watch your body language. Don't sit there with your head inclined downwards but chin up and look the interviewer(s) in the face - not constantly of course, or you'll worry them. Even if your natural urge is to fold up and be a bit defensive, make sure your arms are not crossed over your solar plexus but maintain an open posture which suggests you are confident and giving.
    There is a ton of information on body language out there and it is important to get it right.
    It's also good to add the personal touch and use the interviewer's name at least once. At the end when you stand up to go, give them a nice smile, a firm handshake and say "Thank you for time Jane" (or whatever their name is).
     
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  3. AwareDari

    AwareDari Lurker

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    Thanks for the write-up. @ilovefrankee Mind to share some tips on how to structure the elevator pitch?
     
  4. kiwi

    kiwi Lurker

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    Also: don't put any cologne on. I see students do this all the time.
     
  5. Trigger

    Trigger Hardcore Investment Banker

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  6. ilovefrankee

    ilovefrankee New Member Professional

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    AwareDari, there's loads of resources available online on how to structure your elevator pitch, I'll post some links later on.