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Selling yourself in the interview

Not everyone likes sales or trusts salespeople, but the art of persuasion is an unavoidable part of corporate life. Project team members must sell ideas within their groups, vendors must sell products and services, and leaders must sell strategies for change. All this selling starts with the job application, when candidates must sell themselves to prospective employers. John Brambert, an executive coach with Trinity Performance Group, shared a three-pronged approach for students at Thunderbird School of Global Management on the eve of their 2013 campus career fair.

Teach: Brambert said memorable candidates do more than answer questions about their backgrounds. They deliver insights about industry trends, market challenges and best practices. They bring new ideas to the table and find appropriate ways to teach. They also look for opportunities to tell stories that show themselves as responsible, accountable, coachable, productive, flexible and cooperative. They approach the interview as a two-way conversation.

Breathe: A job interview can be stressful, causing some people to talk too much and others to withdraw. Brambert advises applicants to pause periodically and monitor their vital signs and body language. “Follow your breathing,” he said. “Stay present.” People who need to project more energy can lean forward, while people who come across too strongly can lean back.

Take control: Savvy applicants help guide the interview process. They listen actively and ask questions early and often. “If you wait until the end to ask questions, you may miss the opportunity,” Brambert said. Candidates also need to ask directly for opportunities that they want. “The more you ask for something, the more chances you will have to get what you want,” he said. “If you don’t ask for it, someone else will.”

Thunderbird’s Professional Development Week and Career Fair, which continues through Oct. 25, 2013, allows students to meet corporate recruiters from more than 30 organizations. To learn more about recruiter opportunities at Thunderbird, contact Thunderbird Senior Director of Employer Relations Ben Forrey ’11 at ben.forrey@thunderbird.edu.

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