I’ve written over the years about selling yourself in job interviews. Many job seekers think if they sell their skills and abilities, then that’s all it takes. Actually, it’s not WHAT you are selling by HOW that gets you the job.
There are three things that signal authenticity, believe-ability, and genuineness which are the foundation for building trust with an employer, which of course leads to getting the job offer. The cool thing is, the three things I am going to mention are do-able for anyone – even if you feel you aren’t the best at showing them.
Lakshmi Balachandra, then a Boston College doctoral student, wanted to know what made for a successful venture capitalist sales pitch (which isn’t much different than interviewing for a job). Her research concluded that presentations receiving the most investment money were not necessarily those with the best plan or background, but rather those that were presented with the most confidence, comfort level, and passionate enthusiasm. In other words, the applicant’s skill or knowledge wasn’t the most important factor, but rather HOW they presented that skill and knowledge.
Believing in and owning your story or personal brand is what exudes those higher levels of confidence, comfort, and passion. None of these three attributes can be turned off or on during an interview – they can’t be faked.
For example, there a physiological changes that occur in the vocal cords when we are stressed or lack confidence – fear can constrict the vocal cords causing our voice to come out thin and tight. Conversely, when our vocal pitch and amplitude vary it causes us to feel and sound expressive and relaxed.
There are many, many different relaxation techniques that can help you strengthen how you display confidence, comfort, and passion. You will find varying success with each of them, so the point is to really investigate what it is that helps YOU relax so that you can give them what they are REALLY measuring you by in interview settings, or even settings where you are trying to influence an employer, co-workers, or patients about an idea you think will help them.
To get you started this article offers some good advice, but there are lots of others out there and probably some things you already know about yourself that will help. It’s like a muscle you build by lifting weights, the more you practice the stronger you get so keep working at it.
Another thing that will help you get past those nerves is a true passion for dentistry and dental hygiene. Allow yourself to be vulnerable – employers want that vulnerability and passion to come out. It helps them equate that with your projected success at their office.
Introverts vs. Extroverts
On a final, but important note, there’s a natural assumption that extroverts have all the advantage when it comes to job interviews because they aren’t nearly as nervous and seem to have the natural ability to converse.
Actually, there’s been lots of research on this, too, and it’s showing that the playing field is quite level between extroverts and introverts. Susan Cain’s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” points out that a lot of employers want the natural tendencies of introverts, such as the ability to focus longer, ability listen and synthesize information better, and less need for external validation.
So, in my opinion, the playing field is equal. Just show employers how relate-able you are to them through small talk and, stories or examples of things that have happened to you on the job and how you handled them. Don’t worry about how smooth or rehearsed you are – confidence, comfort, and passion are what works in job interviews and all sales pitches.