How to Convince Any Interviewer They’d Be Stupid Not to Hire You

As the interview for a job you really want approaches, your nerves start to play funny tricks on you. You find it hard to focus on anything else.

Anxiety, apprehension and worry are all natural human responses to a stressful situation like an interview — these are indicators that you want to succeed. Yet that protection mechanism called fear kicks in to defend you against the pain of failure.

So what can you do to build up up your confidence against the fearful expectation of failure? One method is to create a powerful strategy that will persuade your interviewers that you’re the best — the one — for the role.

Treat your interview like a sales pitch

Since your interview is your chance to sell yourself and convince this person of all the good you can do for the company, think of this conversation as a sales pitch. And every sales pitch needs an elevator speech.

Before you walk in the door, you should be ready with a short, punchy sentence or two that not only wraps up your skills, qualities and talents, but also entices the interviewer to listen to more of what you have to say.

Interview yourself first

Ready to write that hard-hitting sentence or two that will create a great first impression with your prospective employer? Start by asking yourself a series of questions.

The answers will help you understand your own value and realize all that you could potentially achieve with this new opportunity. Ask yourself:

  • What are you really good at in the context of the work you would be doing?
  • In what aspects of this work do you excel?
  • When are you at your best?
  • What qualities do you have that will add real value to this company?
  • Why would you be a great asset to them?
  • What’s your greatest strength?

These types of questions dig deep into your psyche and help you develop the conviction that you’re the right person for the role. The answers will help you overcome some of the fears that cause pre-interview anxiety and nerves in the first place.

Psychologists say a certain degree of nerves are necessary for you to be on your game. They help you focus and concentrate. Those butterflies in your stomach just need to be coached to fly in formation. Manage your fear by answering the questions listed above, then get to work on folding the answers into your interview.

How to write a winning elevator speech

Once you’ve formulated your answers, you can put them into effective phrases that will make you stand out as a confident and effective candidate.

Take a good look at the job post. What exactly does this role require? Excellent organization skills? Mastery of C++? Great people skills?

Focus your elevator speech around these requirements. Imagine you’re being asked (as you very likely will be), “What would you bring to this role?”

A strong answer might sound something like:

I’m self-motivated, with energy and enthusiasm for great results. I love working with a team and achieving goals. Being professional, listening actively and being part of the solution are vital when I work in a team, and I believe this is a real strength of mine — the ability to get along with different personalities.

Let’s break down the different traits this personal statement covers:

  • Self-motivated
  • Dedicated
  • Energetic
  • Results-oriented
  • Team player
  • Professional
  • Active listener
  • Solution-driven
  • Relationship-focused
  • Approachable

What employer would reject a person with these attributes? These skills make you stand out, especially if you’re applying for a role that involves working with different teams or customers.

Your elevator pitch should cover the essential elements you know the employer wants. Speak about the future of the company and how you can help them get there. Help the interviewer see the bigger picture — with you in it.

With an effective elevator speech, they’ll see you as a valuable asset to bring to their department, team, customers and company. (Click here to Tweet this thought.)

To recap:

  1. Revisit the questions above.
  2. Answer them specifically in relation to the position.
  3. Condense your answers into a phrase or two that will grab attention.
  4. Ensure your elevator speech is relevant to the role.
  5. Show your value without showing off.
  6. Deliver your elevator speech genuinely and with passion — make it a no-brainer that you’re the best person for the role.

This process will help you build confidence to calm your nerves and lay the foundation for a positive and influential interview.

As a business improvement expert, Sean McPheat helps companies improve their sales, management and HR teams through consulting, coaching and training. Sean is the Managing Director of the MTD Training group. You can find more tips and advice on how to boost your business via Sean’s blog.


  1. Spot on, this is damn good! Crafting that pitch so that almost every line has the interviewer going, “We need this person now,” is key. I also like to study up on the company and see where they have some unmet needs, and then make sure my pitch weaves in how I can bring even greater value to the company by helping them address those needs. This is like going to a friends house and bringing cake – they were just expecting your to come, they weren’t expecting what else you’d deliver!

    • Sean_McPheat

      You couldn’t be more right Kat. Everybody is looking for
      that “added value” aspect these days and they really want to feel
      like they’re getting more than they had bargained for so make sure that you
      show the interviewer just how valuable you could be for their company and you’ll be a step ahead.

      • Exactly! And the thing is many times we WILL add value, but we don’t know how to communicate it. Like you said – it all comes back to how we sell ourselves. If we don’t know how to sell ourselves both we and the company can lose out.

  2. Lauren Milligan

    This article makes me sad. It perpetuates the belief that people should talk about themselves in corporate-speak, and hackneyed phrases. If someone introduced themselves to me as, “I’m self-motivated, with energy and enthusiasm for great results. I love working with a team and achieving goals” I’d look at them as if they had two heads…then I’d walk away. Why is everyone so afraid to talk like a person – in clear, plain language? And by the way, EVERYONE in the world thinks they are self-motivated, energetic and enthusiastic so what this article is saying is that everyone should have the same elevator pitch.
    Think about it this way. If you were at a neighborhood BBQ, talking to the new neighbor while holding a beer, what would your answer be when that neighbor says, “so, what to you do?”. That’s how you figure out your elevator pitch. It has NOTHING to do with boiler plate language like that ridiculous list above. Ask yourself these three questions: 1) What do you do better than your peers? 2) What do you love to do that your peers hate do do? 3) How did you get started in this job/industry?
    That’s where you start. If you need help from there, check in with me at

    • Sean_McPheat

      Seems like you’ve completely missed the point of the article Lauren. I am certainly not saying everyone should have the same things to say about themselves at an interview. I am merely giving some advice on how to create an elevator pitch for an interview. Anybody who would read this article and repeat it word for word as their own has also clearly missed the point.

      My point in the article is to show how you can add value to a company and put this across in a way that interviewers will understand.

      • Lauren Milligan

        Whatever you say, you loyal, experienced, problem-solver who finishes projects on time and under budget. Go get ’em! My clients get hired quickly without having to compromise on career level or salary, but whatever. I’m sure you know.

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  4. There’s the crafting your pitch and delivering it. Sometimes it doesn’t always come out quite as smoothly without a little practice. That’s why we’ve created Prept, to help job seekers get the practice they need to gain confidence. Check out our service and get $10 off your mock interview session with the promo code, Brazen$10Off.

  5. Jobseeker12

    As Sean says, having a short punchy selling line is important. I think it would be good to then spend some time justifying your claims. For example, after you’ve floored the panel with your opening phrase above, you could then pick it apart yourself.
    You could basically question every line: How are you self motivated? I identified an improvement to a process [insert process here], discussed this with my supervisor and team and we came up with some solutions [insert solutions here]. Lauren is right in saying that everyone describes themselves as self-starters, but few people can give specific examples to justify it. The more specific example you can give, the more likely I think a person can convince an interviewer (who has heard the cliches all before) that YOUR example is the genuine one.
    The Jobseeker

    • I have to say I like the claims WITH examples piece. All the cookie cutter language trended back in the 80’s and anyone who buys into it these days would have to confess they are looking for trained monkeys. Personal concrete examples is the key to minimizing their doubt that you are the person for that job. I enjoyed your contribution.

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