3 Ways To Sell Your Brand In Interviews – Part 2

You’re in the market for a new job and you’ve landed an interview. Congratulations! Now you need to make sure you’re the candidate who stands out from the crowd.

As I showed you in Part 1 of this series, that begins before you even get your foot in the door. Now let’s move forward to when you’re in the interview hot seat.

It’s not like any other conversation

I was speaking to an HR Director once who said, “In normal conversation, a good rule of thumb is to talk for no more than half the time and listen for the rest. But an interview is different.

“I want candidates to be talking for at least 60 – 70% of the time – even as much as 80%. Because the more they talk, the more information I have on which to base my hiring decision.” So here’s my first tip:

Tip 1: Get your head around that

Put your usual conversation courtesies on the back burner and go into the room consciously thinking, “It’s my job to talk.”

Tip 2: Quality, not just quantity

I’m not advocating filling the time by blethering on about whatever inanities come to mind. What I am advocating is talking more by giving the interviewer a deeper insight into not just what you bring to the table, but who is bringing it. (In a nutshell, your personal brand.) You do that by following Tip 3…

Tip 3: Every answer is a springboard

I spent 15 years in PR – specifically media relations. It was my job to convey my company’s messages to journalists in a compelling way, so they’d convey them the to the public via the press or broadcaster they worked for.

What I learnt very early on is that the best PR people do this by following three steps:

Step 1: Answer the question – If you don’t, a journalist will know you’re avoiding something and just keep asking.

Step 2: Answer honestly – It doesn’t have to be the entire story, but whatever comes out of your mouth has to stand up to scrutiny.

Step 3: Use the springboard – No matter what a journalist is asking you, use your reply as a jumping off point for what you really want to tell them.

You have to PR yourself

An interview is the #1 time in your life where the whole purpose is to promote yourself; to convey your messages in a compelling way, so the interviewer is compelled to hire you. So my advice is to follow the same three steps I did – answer the interview question, answer it honestly and use it as a jumping off point for saying even more.

Let me give you a little example.

A not uncommon interview question is, “Describe yourself in three words.”

Everyone will follow Step 1: answer the question. And the majority (but not everyone I’m sure) will follow Step 2: answer honestly.

So the upshot will be every candidate replies with three words that describe them, for instance, “I’m focused, serious and patient.”

But what the best interviewees do (like the best PR people) is move on to Step 3: using the answer as a springboard to expand on those three words and give the interviewer even greater insight. (And – in the process – speaking more, with quality conversation.)

So the personal brander will say, “The first word would be ‘focused’. When I get the end goal in mind, it sticks there like Superglue, so I keep moving towards it.

“The second would be ‘serious’ – not that I’m overly serious as a person, but that I’m serious about my work, because I think it’s an important reflection of me.

“And the third word would be ‘patient’. I’ve learnt that I don’t have all the answers and it’s good to sit back and hear what others think before making my mind up.”

You’ll be saying an awful lot more than three words but, by jingo, you’ll be making sure you stick in the interviewer’s mind…for all the right reasons.

In Part 3 of this short series, we’ll look at how to answer competency-based questions with a dash of personal brand. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts about my tips so far by leaving a message in the comment box below. Thanks!

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