How Aggressive Should You Be During an Interview?

How aggressively you should sell yourself in a job interview depends on age, critical experience, and the level of the job you’re seeking. Interviewing styles differ and no behavior is perfect for every person and every situation.

Here are some things to keep in mind, depending on your circumstances:

  • If you’re in a sales field, just starting out, lack experience in a job’s requirements, or aren’t obviously superior to your competition, don’t hold back on selling your advantages or showing your enthusiasm.

  • If you have relevant experience and offer in-demand skills or are being considered for a senior-level job, allow yourself to be wooed a bit. You don’t want to be seen as jumping at every opportunity. It’s the old story: The more anxious you seem, the less money you’re offered.

  • When the gap between your qualifications and the job’s requirements is the size of the Grand Canyon, accept the fact that the job will go to someone else. Suppose, for instance, that the position requires five years’ experience, including two years of supervisory experience. You thought you could talk your way through the gap with your three years of total experience and no years of supervisory experience. Good luck! Chances are nil that you'll get the job.

When you know that you just don’t have the chops for the position, salvage your time and effort. Acknowledge to the interviewer that although you may not be ideal for this particular position, interviewing for it has caused you to admire the company and you’d appreciate being contacted if a better match comes along.

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