Job interview tips – how to “sell” your examples in a behavioural interview.

by K B , updated on May 19, 2016

One of the biggest questions I hear from my clients is “how do I sell myself in interview?”

One of the biggest mistakes people make in interview is to think that selling themselves requires chest beating.

Behavioural interviews have been popular for years. Mastering how to present your examples in a behavioural interview will do half the sales job for you – without you actually having to tell the interviewer how terrific you are.

Here’s what I mean.

In a behavioural interview, you need to give a specific example – for example, a person, time, project, task or thing you did. You structure your answer with the situation/task, the action, and the result.

A good behavioural interview starts with self-awareness – that is you understand what you said or did that made you successful in the example you choose to present.

Many people fall down here because they just tell the interviewer what they did. However there is no point just launching into an example or just providing detail about what you did. You also need to tell the interviewer why this particular task was meaningful for you and the challenge associated with the task.

Think about:

–          why you are presenting that example?

–          what was at stake, in the project or completing the task?

–          why did you personally find the task challenging?

–          what did you feel like when you were confronted with that situation?

To sell your examples you need to pick examples that are vivid for you, and tell the interviewer why this situation was challenging for you.

If you give that context to the interviewer they are more likely to think every action you took after that was “amazing.”

Also important is that you present examples where you were really proud of what you did.

This makes it easy to remember the convincing detail. There is a huge difference in your body language if you talk through something you were proud of achieving, rather than just going through the motions or trying to second guess what you think the interviewer wants to hear.

Give the interviewer all the detail around the challenge you faced, combined with your face lighting up when you talk through your example and they’ll start to be sold on you.

No fake superlatives needed!

Need to get ahead of the pack for your next interview? Download our free e-book!

Deborah Barit wrote this book. She is one of Australia’s leading interview coaches. It is packed full of easily actionable interview tips.

To get your free e-book and some of our best interview tips direct to your inbox, simply click on this link and answer a couple of quick questions. Easy as, hey!

Here’s what happy readers said about the e-book and interview tips:

“Deborah Barit is a very smart lady…She is good at figuring out what an employer is looking for. It’s like she has ESP — with her help in preparing, I found no surprises in a recent interview and I was prepared for every question….” Cathy, Leichhardt, NSW

“Because I read so many of your posts, I feel as if you were my personal employment coach. I start my new position in two weeks. I had so many obstacles to overcome and each day you posted a solution to my dilemma and how to improve my search. Thank you so much for your input and PLEASE continue to do what you do!”

Click here to get access to the e-book.

K B

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

knikkolette July 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Karalyn – thanks for such a great post. I’ve never been great at the interview process and I’m sure these pointers will help many people who have the same problems I have.

Karalyn Brown (@InterviewIQ) July 18, 2011 at 12:05 am

Sell yourself using these tips in a behavioural interview – http://ow.ly/5CULC

Lucrecia Morales G. (@Lucremorgar) July 18, 2011 at 12:30 am

Véndete a tí mismo usando estos tips en una entrevista de comportamiento RT @InterviewIQ . http://ow.ly/5CULC

Rosalind De Sailly October 12, 2011 at 3:31 am

Great post! I know my candidates will find it useful

@CareerPathRec October 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Job Seeker? Here are some interview tips to help you secure that dream role! http://t.co/rIgZkT5L

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