How Skilled Interviewees Present Themselves Without Overselling

skilled interviewees

A great interview is a great conversation.  It’s like a first date.  If it’s going well, it’s a two-way back and forth instead of a one-person brag fest.  Here’s how skilled interviewees present themselves without overselling their skills.  

First, Skilled Interviewees Read the Room

The first few minutes of any interview is crucial.  It is the time when candidates should listen carefully to introductions. Skilled interviewees will even jot down or memorize names and titles so they can be used throughout the interview.  

Interviewers want candidates to listen carefully to the question they are asking. If you go off on a tangent and do not answer what is being asked, you are not in a two-way conversation.  You are selling your skills as a candidate, but you need to recognize who is listening and what resonates most.  For example, if there is someone there from marketing, you may want to talk more about your contribution to a recent campaign and less about your IT skills.  On the other hand, you may want to avoid overselling your marketing experience by saying that your campaign ideas single handedly increased profits by 50%. The exaggeration will be noticed and noted.

Second, Skilled Interviewees Start Two-Way Conversations

A good rule of thumb to avoid overselling is to keep the 40%-60% rule, where you only talk 40% of the time. In order to do this, you need to prepare strategic questions. Mark Moyer of Forbes says, “Ask the hiring manager a question and immediately immerse them in conversation.  For example, ‘In your opinion, what’s happening now in your industry that is having the most impact on your team and the work that is done in this position?’”  A question like this will engage the interviewer and create rapport.  Be sure to listen carefully to the response.  You may be able to go back and forth in conversation and naturally tie things to one of your strengths.  But, the primary goal with asking questions is to build rapport through two-way conversation.  

Moyer cautions against going on and on about yourself with too many details.  This can bore your interviewers.  He says that instead of overselling, allow yourself to be bought.

Other interview tips to create conversation include:

  • Use eye contact
  • Address the person who asked you the question by name
  • Answer the question being asked without going off topic
  • Be prepared with specific details about the company and job description
  • Be relaxed
  • Be enthusiastic about the role

Third, Skilled Interviewees Adjust Answers Based on Interest

When interviewing, it is imperative that you answer the question being asked honestly and succinctly.  If asked to “tell us about yourself,” you should have a short summary that sticks mostly to recent work.  If you are older, you can acknowledge that you have an extensive background in a certain areas and ask the interviewer if there is a specific area they would like you to elaborate on.  

Your answers should be genuine and realistic.  If asked about soft skills, say that you have strong leadership skills but that you also rely on your team. Do not say that you are the best leader anyone will ever meet.  If asked about your technology skills, admit that you have a basic knowledge of Python as a beginner.  Do not say that you are an expert in Python if you are not.  Be honest about having a few weak areas. “Fruitful long-term relationships are built on honesty from the get-go,” says Ross Reimer, Inside Logistics. “It’s best to realize there is no perfect company or position and no perfect employee.  We do best when we recognize the positives and challenges on both sides, and work to see if a genuinely excellent fit can be found.”

Gauge audience interest when you are answering.  If an interviewer seems to respond to something you are discussing, feel free to engage that person in conversation and go back and forth.

Artemis Consultants realizes that interviewing can be stressful.  Many candidates need to slow down, relax, and have a sincere and authentic conversation.  In baseball, the player who consistently hits singles and doubles is way more valuable than the player who oversells and only swings for home runs.

-Written exclusively for Artemis Consultants by Business Content Writer Mellody Melville

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