Selling yourself during interview

Written by
Changeboard Team

17 Oct 2012

17 Oct 2012 • by Changeboard Team

Selling - it's an everyday activity

As a parent, I find myself selling to people all the time, although I admit that some of the people in question are small and generally boisterous.

I have to sell them the idea that school is a great place to pass the time, that watching television is not going to get their homework done and that broccoli really is good for you and isn’t some kind of alien plant food. I mention this because the first lesson in building rapport is to notice how we do it all the time and that it’s good to spot how well we do it already.

5 key principals to engage your audience

When we create rapport (and it’s up to us to do the work here) people will tend to trust us more, overlook our weaknesses and accept us as friendly, likeable people who they want to have in their organisation. We can build on our natural talents by:

  • Smiling - it warms people up.
  • Maintaining eye contact; people like to be looked at and will hear us when we hold their gaze (there’s a great tip on how to do this at the end of the article).
  • Finding areas of commonality. People are tribal and finding links with someone turns them into one of the tribe. If you spot a link, notice it by saying: Hey, I do that/go there/enjoy that.
  • Being enthusiastic. Use words such as like/love/great/fun to convey your energy and enthusiasm, which is a great way to get others to warm to us.
  • Keeping at it. Make sure our rapport building continues throughout the interview, so that we don’t fade into bland anonymity.

Building confidence and self-belief

We can sell ideas to our family; we can look our children in the eye and convince them that we mean business, by using our warmth and charm, rather than by shouting or pouting at them.

When we step outside our home into the world, we can remember that even though we might be nervous, we are still a lovable decent human being. In my experience, people who struggle to use the key principles to build rapport fail to do so because deep down they feel they are not good enough, or that they shouldn’t really be there.

We are all ok; we have a right to be at the interview (we were invited after all), we can have a few gaps in our experience and can still do a great job. 

Great rapport starts from within

Knowing we are ok is the bedrock our rapport building skills rest on, because when we’re in a good place internally, we are much more able to smile, make eye contact and create warmth with new people.

A good piece of advice, before you go into an interview, is to remind yourself that:
You have a right to be there.

  • You have skills and talents and can share them.
  • You can enjoy getting to know new people.
  • You can know that interviewers are just people too.
  • You are ok

Practice your 'social gaze'

I'm often asked how you make contact without appearing to stare at someone. A good question, that comes with a simple answer - use a triangle.

Imagine the shape of a triangle, pointing downwards, with one point on the tip of the other person’s nose and the other two at the outside end of their eyebrows. Instead of staring at their eyeballs, let your eyes move round inside the triangle as you are speaking to them. Because their eye can't detect tiny movements they will feel you're looking at them without staring. 

Practice at home on your children or with your partner or best friend and see how well you do. The technique is called ‘social gaze’ and it’s a great way to build rapport and to get people to eat up their broccoli.

About Job Hunting 3.0

There are more secrets and skills in the book Job Hunting 3.0 which is essential reading for anyone looking for their first job, their next job, or to achieve an internal promotion.

Practical, useful and written from first-hand experience, the book covers all the things you need to know to be successful and includes worked examples of CVs, cover letters, assessment centres and answers to tricky interview questions.