Being Persuasive in the Interview

by | Mar 8, 2020 | Interviewing

A common piece of advice that people have for candidates focuses on the need to “sell yourself”. While this is true, you have to communicate why you should be hired in a way that is persuasive to the Hiring Manager. In other words, your actions need to inspire the Hiring Manager to hire you. This attempt to influence is much harder to do then just “telling” something to a person.

So, how do you go about convincing the Hiring Manager that you are the person that he/she should hire? Let’s look at some acts and tactics you can use to get others to agree that you are the best candidate.

• You Have to Communicate Why – This is the selling portion of being persuasive. You have to be comfortable enough to deliver the message you want to get across to the Hiring Manager. As you are answering the question presented to you, your answer should not just consist of responding to the specifics of the inquiry, but also why you are special, unique, or excellent in this area. Be specific when providing your answer by providing good examples and describing experiences with each topic.

• Read Your Audience – I am sure everyone has been in a conversation where they could tell when some was really listening and accepting of their message. On the opposite side, I am sure we have all had times when we knew the listener did not care or accept what was being said. It is important to accurately read the Hiring Manager so that when you find a point that is effective, then make sure that area is emphasized. Likewise, abort and redirect the conversation if you find that you do not have an accepting audience.

• Be Real – A Hiring Manager has probably interviewed many candidates who have “canned” answers that have been over prepared and shallow. While it is important to be prepared, you also want to make sure that your personality comes through in your responses. People identify better with individuals who appear genuine with them.

• Make It a Conversation – Your goal is to make this less of an interview and more of a conversation between you and the Hiring Manager. You can try to do this in a number of different ways. Be sure to make eye contact with the other person. Be expressive in your speech when speaking. Use the first name of the Hiring Manager (the days of Mr. or long over for a Manager) so when answering, you can state…”Joe, I am glad you asked me about this…”

• Compliment the Hiring Manager – This can be for a good question (just don’t overuse this or it quickly becomes annoying), or for something you think the company does that is excellent. Everyone likes to hear a positive message or a compliment. It naturally changes your point-of-view, your mind switches to a positive state, and you are much more willing to listen to what is being said.

• Don’t Overdo It – It can be very tempting to try too hard in persuading your audience. Hiring Managers like confidence, but usually do not respond well to someone who comes across as “pushy” and oversells during the interview.

• Watch Your Body Language – As mentioned earlier, eye contact is a positive move during the interview. You can also score persuasion points with head nods, smiles, and good posture (with a slight lean forward when listening). All of these moves will draw the Hiring Manager into a conversational and comfortable mode, which places him or her in a positive position to be persuaded.

• Be a Good Partner During the Process – Build trust with the Hiring Manager by being a good partner during the recruitment process. This will assist you in making a connection with this decision maker. You can do this by being available when called, being flexible when scheduling, being on-time, and providing any information requested (Cover Letter, Resume, References, etc.).

Getting to “Yes” (in this situation, the “Yes” is an offer for employment) is more than just a matter of your skill, education, and accomplishments. It is also about convincing the Hiring Manager that you are the right person to hire, especially when there are others that are also qualified for the role. You can accomplish this by polishing your persuasion skills and using the on the Hiring Manager during the interview.

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein

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