Believing in yourself is the key to successful selling in any situation.
Reflect on your skills and experience and why they make you valuable to an employer. You are every bit as much a product or service as the piece of creative work you would confidently present to a client.
While you don’t need to boast or blag about expertise you don’t actually have, you do need to be direct and positive about your qualities and achievements.
Knowing that you’re fully prepared for the meeting will boost your confidence. Define your objectives, do your research, establish what you want to say and have evidence to back up your statements. Don’t get caught on the hop by expounding on what a great problem solver you are and being unable to think of a relevant example.
It helps to wear something smart, but comfortable. If you’re being interviewed for a creative agency job and you know for a fact that jeans and t-shirts are the norm from board level down, the answer is yes, you do still need to smarten up for a job interview. Your clothes should be right for the organisation, and the image you want to project.
When you enter the room hold yourself tall and don’t round your shoulders when you sit. Practice a firm – but not ridiculously so – handshake if you’re meeting new people. Nothing gives a worse impression than someone who sidles apologetically into a room and then presents a wet fish of a hand for you to grasp. Relax your shoulders, smile and make eye contact.
Listen -it’s the key to good selling. And demonstrate it through your body language or by recapping on what the other person has said to show you’ve absorbed it. Do make sure you answer the question and don’t be tempted to ramble off at a tangent.
Wear the employer’s hat
See it from their point of view. What do you think they want – and don’t want – in their staff? As well as the right skills, they will also be looking for a good attitude and a willingness to learn. If you’re asking for a pay rise, present some evidence – with figures if possible – to show how you’ve contributed to the company’s success and or solved your employer’s problems.
Few employers will hand over a wad of cash just because you ask for it, so think beforehand about where you could negotiate, for instance having an extra couple of days’ holiday rather than more money. If you are turned down don’t get wound up or threaten to leave. It will only end one way, and it won’t be pretty.
Ask a friend to play the employer so you can practice running through your pitch. The more you practice being confident the more genuine confidence you will gain. If you’re practicing for an interview, get your friend to spring some difficult questions on you. For more interview help read our tip sheet here.
Make a good exit
End on a positive note. We don’t need to tell you to thank the interviewer and ask when you will hear back from them. And if it’s a promotion or pay rise discussion and you’ve been turned down, ask what you can do to help your case, and when you can discuss it again.
Remember that having the tricky discussion or a crucial interview is often a lot less painful than worrying about it. Prepare properly and then give it your best shot. You’ll feel good about yourself and you never know – you might just land that plum job, payrise or promotion that you’re after.