May 17 2016

By Anish Majumdar,

One of the most interesting things I learned from my days as an actor was seeing how audiences tended to remember what a person did much more than how they did it. In other words, if you take the correct actions, despite not being Mr./Ms. Confident, you’ll trigger the same response as though you were.

The goal: establishing yourself as the candidate who can deliver the most VALUE. Someone who is in demand, understands his/her worth, and is willing to advocate for it.

Here are some actions to help you get there:

1. Bulletproof your resume.

Honesty-to-the-point-of-exposing-vulnerabilities won’t win you extra points on a resume. A great resume is a marketing tool as well as a shield during interviews; meant to withstand a series of “attacks” that go to the heart of your fit for the role. Don’t make the job easier for the other side than it has to be. If there’s a situation like a layoff that you know will come up, the best approach is to broach it in person, without being asked, preferably frame the outcome as a learning experience, and move on.

2. Set clear time limits.

Letting the clock run on an intro phone call, or letting a 1-hour interview (without an offer forthcoming at the end) go on forever may seem like the friendly thing to do, but it lessens your perceived worth. Once the agreed-upon time limit has been reached, use your judgment to decide whether to stretch for 5-10 minutes more. If not, make your exit.

3. Refuse to share salary details.

Any hiring agent can visit sites like Glassdoor and others to get a pretty accurate idea of what you made at your last job. The only reason you’re going to be asked this question is to preemptively curb salary expectations/drive your price down. If asked, respond with, “I don’t feel comfortable discussing confidential salary details, but would love to get a read on what the company’s expected salary range for this position is for someone at my level.”

4. Get a read on where they are in the hiring process.

Just because you want the job does not obligate you to interview #5 in an endless series. Is it due to their lack of buying you as their candidate of choice? Before agreeing to “one more” interview, get a read on where they are in the hiring process, and exactly what they want to see from you in this next engagement. If they can’t or aren’t willing to provide this information, consider bowing out.

5. “I’m interested in this job, and want it!”

Sounds obvious, right? But you’d be amazed how many great candidates lose out on the offer by being dinged for a lack of enthusiasm for the role. The best solution? As the interview’s wrapping up, take a second to bring it up. Why you’re excited about the role. Why you’re excited about being a part of what they’re doing. And yes, stating outright that you’d like the job. It can make a big difference.

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