Overselling in the Interview

As career coaches, we continually remind our clients that when seeking a position, it is no time to be humble. Sing your praises, blow your horn, be sure that the employer is left with the confidence that you can do the job. They want to know that you possess the level of skill required to do the job, but that is not all. We should also be aware that we need to express the adequate amount of interest in their unique position, department and organization. And let’s not forget–they need to like you.

This last point can be the tricky one. While you may have the skills required to perform and make your boss “look good,” and even express an amount of interest in the role that convinces them you want their specific job in their specific company, they must also feel that you are a fit. If you fail to convey a likability and they have trouble envisioning you as part of the team, you may not get the job!

This by no means sugggests that we over-talk during the interview, that we answer their questions in a long-winded fashion. This might be considered “over-selling.” The question is, why would you feel the need to do that?

Cyrill Connolly once wrote that “I have often been¬†embarrassed¬†by my words, never my silence.:” I would love for every long-winded interviewee to hear that and take it to heart. Although talking too much may be stimulated by nerves, we need to get that in check and remind ourselves to consciously make an effort to answer only the question asked. Don’t offer information that you are not invited to mention.

Practice makes perfect here. It behooves you to get it right, especially when this is your “target position.”

About the author, Saleh

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