2 September, 2022
by Jean-Pierre Mercier

How to sell yourself

You have to sell yourself for everything: raise your salary, change jobs, get an assignment, find a job, join a charity. We’ll show you the difficulties and techniques involved in selling yourself both in general and more specifically during a recruitment interview. I’d like to share with you my experience as a consultant, but also […]

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You have to sell yourself for everything: raise your salary, change jobs, get an assignment, find a job, join a charity. We’ll show you the difficulties and techniques involved in selling yourself both in general and more specifically during a recruitment interview. I’d like to share with you my experience as a consultant, but also as a recruiter for some of our customers.

Accept to sell yourself

Many find it difficult to sell themselves, hesitate to present their qualities, stammer, become embarrassed when asked to describe their strengths, feel ashamed to talk about themselves – in short, they’re afraid to sell themselves.

The first step to selling yourself is to get rid of this fear of showing off.

You need to avoid two mistakes: a profile that’s too low, which makes you invisible, and one that’s too high, which will end up annoying your colleagues, supervisor or recruiters.

You can only be convincing if you’re convinced, so have confidence in yourself, objectively assess your value and the added value you bring to the organization, but remain balanced and reasonable.

Develop your charisma

Charisma is not only the power to influence, it’s also your ability to embellish the lives of others, to seduce, to make people dream. Not everyone is equal in this respect, but anyone can develop a certain charisma. Don’t try to change your personality either, just be yourself. It’s a mistake to want to become someone else.

Prepare for your recruitment meeting

First of all, look after your image on the web by cleaning up your social networks of anything that shouldn’t be visible, whether on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. Employers will be looking at these to see who they’re dealing with, and many political figures have made the mistake of not being vigilant enough on this point. Don’t forget, however, that every digital trace is recorded on the web and can be retrieved at the least opportune moment.

Before your job interview, prepare a 2 or 3 minute sales pitch and learn different variations depending on the position you’re applying for. The best preparation leads to the best improvisation, and you need to learn how to say it easily, with a smile and conviction. If you know the organization that’s recruiting, try to get to know it as well as possible by visiting its website and social networks, or visiting its sales outlets or branches.

Give a good impression of yourself when making contact

Your appearance is key in the first three seconds, and many recruiters admit that it takes them just a few seconds to know if the candidate is the right fit, and that the rest of the time they’ll find rational reasons to justify an irrational choice based on appearances. When asked why they want to see the candidate again, they reply that it’s because they haven’t found sufficient rational arguments to justify the choices!

Clothes are important, and while clothes don’t make the man, they do contribute to recruitment. Selectors, whether recruitment agencies or the organization’s human resources department, are primarily motivated by security. They don’t want to make a mistake, and will therefore favor those who already have an average profile and are close to the organization over someone who is brighter, but doesn’t have the “face for the job”.

Listen to what your contacts are looking for

Candidates have too much of a tendency to be egocentric and to think that they’re there to present themselves, which is a fundamental mistake. Open the conversation by asking your interviewer to speak first to introduce the position and the organization. The relevance of your questions will show them how competent you are, and you’ll be able to tailor your answers to the needs expressed by your contacts. Selling is the art of showing the other person that you have what they’re looking for. It’s also a good time to demonstrate your listening skills and ability to synthesize information, skills that are highly prized in many positions.

Adapt your speech

Next, briefly introduce yourself, your work context, achievements, results and benefits for the company in which you work and relate them to the objectives of the organization for which you are applying. Highlight the benefits you can bring rather than the details of your CV, which they already know because they’ve read it.

Adapt your language to the motivations of your interlocutors: recruiters are often more interested in the security of their choice than in the exceptional person, company managers are looking for the exceptional person who will lead their team to success, and future collaborators especially want to work with a friendly person.

Ideally, you should be able to show that you can satisfy the three main motivations: safety, pleasure and ego. In other words, you’re reliable, a pleasure to work with and will help the organization that recruits you to excel.

Learn the key questions and answers

It’s almost always the same questions that are asked during a recruitment interview: introduce yourself, who are you? What are your motivations? What are your achievements? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What can you bring?

Learn the best answers for the job you’re looking for. Of course, you must accept that you have flaws, but make sure that these flaws are qualities for the position you’re applying for.

Answer objections with confidence

Respond to objections with confidence: your interlocutors’ aim isn’t necessarily to break you, but rather to see how you’re able to cope with difficulties. Objections often relate to the position you’re applying for, such as “Given your lack of experience in this field, I’m not sure you’re capable of doing it properly”. Prepare answers to these and other frequently recurring objections, remembering that confidence in the form is often more important than the answer itself, especially if you’re applying for a sales or marketing job.

Ask a question

To sell yourself well, it’s also a good idea to ask questions about the position you’re applying for, as this shows your genuine interest and commitment. You can ask for details on the hiring process, integration, working conditions, training, coaching, profit-sharing and promotion opportunities.

Leave a good impression

The most important thing is to leave a good impression when you arrive and when you leave. Avoid effusions, be warm but sober, and validate the next steps.

I recommend that you send an e-mail afterwards thanking you for the interview and renewing your interest in the position. Not everyone does this, and it adds a plus.

Finally, learn how to sell yourself, as you can learn everything! You’re not worth what you are, but what you can sell.

Jean-Pierre Mercier