(Source: www.forbes.com)

Dear Liz,

I’m job-hunting. It’s going okay but I have one problem. I’m working with several search firms, and every recruiter gives me different interviewing advice. I interview well. I don’t need their advice in my opinion, but they hammer me to “sell myself” to the hiring manager.

One recruiter told me to “sell myself” by making sure to mention all the things I do especially well. I think that’s grotesque. I’m not going to start praising myself in an interview. Another recruiter told me to make sure and talk about how much I want the job. That is a ridiculous idea. I don’t even know whether or not I want the job.

I don’t feel comfortable “selling myself.” My background speaks for itself. The right manager for me is going to ask intelligent interview questions that will make it obvious I’ve done what he or she needs me to do. I tell stories and I ask lots of questions on an interview because I want to show them my brain working, and I have certain requirements just like the hiring manager does. They need to figure out whether I can do the job, and I have to figure out whether I want the job.

One recruiter scheduled a “pre-interview” coffee meeting between me and him, because he wanted to see me “sell myself” to him, to make sure I would be ready for the real interview the next day. He wanted to interview me and give me tips on my answers.

I’m sure there are some job applicants who would appreciate and benefit from the recruiter’s coaching, but not me. I’m older and have more business experience than the recruiter does. I’ve managed people. It’s somewhat insulting that he assumes he can give me useful interviewing advice.

I declined that invitation. I said “We’ve talked on the phone several times and you met me in person when we had coffee two weeks ago. If you don’t think I can interview for this job without your guidance then it’s not a good fit, and you can cancel tomorrow’s interview.”

He didn’t, of course. The interview went fine. They are making their second-round interview decision this week. What should I tell recruiters who push me to “sell myself” by listing my talents, emphasizing how much I want the job and otherwise groveling?

Thanks for your help Liz!



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