How to sell yourself without sounding like you’re boasting at a job interview

One of the biggest problems when we try to sell a product, an idea, or even ourselves at a job interview, is that we can easily look like we’re selling.

Nobody likes to be ‘sold to’. For example, I don’t want to come home from the garage and say to my wife, ‘I was sold this car’. I want to feel that it had been my choice. Of course, the salesperson will have helped me come to a decision, but we always want to feel that it was our decision.

The same applies to recruiters and hiring companies, they don’t want to you to reel of a list of achievements.

So how do you sell yourself without selling yourself at a job interview?

Third party endorsements

When it comes to a job interview, one of the best ways of selling ourselves, without looking like we’re selling ourselves, is to use third-party endorsement. Basically you put your answers in someone else’s mouth.

One of the standard interview questions is, ‘How would you describe yourself?’

The standard answer would be something like, ‘Well, I work hard, I’m a team player and, hopefully, I’m strategic and add value.’ Something along those lines.

But much more powerful to use third party endorsement. So instead, you could say, ‘Well, if you asked my colleagues, they would say I was a team player and worked hard. And if you ask my clients, I hope they would say that I was strategic and added value.’

Give third-party endorsement a try – it really works.

Just ask my clients – I’m sure they’d agree!


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“The best session we’ve ever had at the LHRC.”

John Maxted

Chair, London HR Connection