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How to Use Persuasion to Ace the Job Interview

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Acing a job interview requires similar persuasive abilities and techniques to selling a product or service. You use basic rapport and relationship-building techniques, subtle gestures and mannerisms, strong knowledge of the company and effective communication of your strengths for the job. If you believe strongly in your product -- you -- persuading a hiring manager of your value becomes much simpler.


A key strategic point that may distinguish a successful interviewee from other candidates is the ability to empathize with the hiring manager. Persuasion is an art that involves emotional intelligence and an awareness of someone's needs and motives. Research the company and job ahead of time to get familiar with the organizational and position-based needs of the employer. As you answer questions, you can show empathy by connecting the job to your qualities and benefits. You might say, "Your job description emphasized detail orientation, which is a quality my managers have always recognized in me."

First Impressions

First impressions have a major effect on your persuasive abilities in an interview. The manager may decide within 10 seconds whether you're a serious candidate worth listening to or a waste of time. Showing up on time, dressing professionally and entering the room with a friendly smile, eye contact and an engaging "Hello" can make a good impression. Hiring managers often hope for a positive first impression because they want to feel good about the use of their time for the next 30 to 60 minutes.


Over the course of your interview, you want to build rapport as you attempt to sell your fit for the job. Initially, offering a sincere compliment about the manager's office or business, finding a shared interest and mirroring the manager's positive nonverbals can set the tone. Open and inviting body language, including a relaxed but straight posture, engaging smile, eye contact and friendly tone help you gain a connection. The more comfortable the hiring manager feels about you, the more likely you are to become the best candidate. This creates a positive filter through which your answers to questions are interpreted.

The Sale

Supported by the communication techniques noted, strong answers to specific questions help you complete the sale. To persuade, don't just offer general answers. Provide examples. Using a confident, assertive and engaging approach, tell the interviewer what you've done that shows your ability to complete the necessary duties and responsibilities of the job. When you talk about your strengths, share an example for each. For interpersonal skills, you might share an example of how you helped resolve a customer complaint or problem using effective listening, a calm demeanor and a helpful attitude.


Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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