I’m Not A Salesman I’m British!

Whenever I prepare a candidate for interview, nine times out of ten they will declare that they are uncomfortable ‘selling’ themselves.

Even the word itself is said with some distain or whispered apologetically with worry etched onto the brow. Somehow they believe they are expected to exaggerate or ‘spin’ the details when talking through skill sets and achievements and that constitutes ‘selling’.

Now I know almost everyone has or has heard a horror story involving a sales person and that the recruitment consultant is held in that category, so it is easy to see where the perception has come from. Yet it’s a perception that needs to be addressed right now.

There is no place for the bumbling Hugh Grant self-detrimental humour during an assessment. You are not going to get the job by playing your part down. The Recruiter doesn’t know whether you are being modest, they don’t know you at all. They expect you to convey what you have done, what results you have achieved and what you can do for them. That’s not ‘bragging’ it’s simply what’s required.

Remember to leave the corgi at home, the royal ‘we’ is also not helpful. The Recruiter is not looking to take on the whole team, just you. You must spell out your involvement, it’s not “We put in a new system” how can anyone learn anything from that? Did you watch? Make the tea? Lead the project? Take any specific responsibility at all?

This is usually where my candidates point out that they are a team player and of course everyone had a part to play. Acknowledging how you work with others in a group is important, but not to the point where you are lost in the crowd and I’m left with absolutely no understanding of your part in the play at all.

The Americans are better at self promotion and in the age of ‘personal branding’ they are in a class of their own.  Check out Jason Seiden  Dan Schawbel and Gary Vaynerchuck( Career Rocketeer has an extensive list personal branding sites) These guys are the extreme, but they have alot to say and some lessons we could learn . The fact that you might not want to be like them though is also part of the problem.

Just by presenting yourself in your best light for the duration of the interview, doesn’t mean you will be perceived as the next Max Clifford of self promotion.

No one is asking you be anything other than your best self. It’s you that has the interview, you they want to learn about and you who will be turning up on Monday should you get the job. Losing the job because you don’t fit is one of the best things to happen, saving you the pain and heartache of a mismatched role and culture. Losing the job because they couldn’t assess who you were and what you can do is a disaster.

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