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Engineers Don’t Need To “Sell Themselves” In A Job Interview

Sometimes, It’s less of saying what you can offer and more of telling a story and asking their story

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Engineers career tips


Job Interviews, they’re the bane of most people’s existence. Most of the time, we’re told by interview coaches to “sell yourself to the best of our abilities.” And sure, while engineers can come up with interview answers that show just how much engineers can offer, what if it’s counter-productive?

What if the idea of selling yourself as an engineer doesn’t match your personality and the way you speak? What if you come off as too pushy or over exaggerative?  

What if you just don’t like the feeling of selling yourself, and would much prefer your qualifications and personal experience speak for itself?

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Well, you’re in the right place! Here we’ll explain why sometimes, selling yourself can be harmful to your job interview, and how you can land that job without needing to do so.


So, first off, while the idea of selling yourself might be great for the newcomer just entering the workforce, for the experienced employee, this might be a drag.

You already know what questions will pop up, find them utterly useless, and just dislike the idea of coming up with the same old, robotic answers.

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And that’s the thing: sometimes, when we sell ourselves, engineers tend to disconnect from our own personalities, and become job interview answering machines.

While this does make you look very qualified, it gives the interviewer a lack of connection, something they will consider in the hiring process.

Another thing is that sometimes, engineers don’t even know if they want this job. Engineers don’t know if what they offer is something they even need, and if they’ll fit in.

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It’s always a horror to land a job only to find out that it isn’t up your alley, and you’ll just end up quitting a few months later.


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So how do engineers work around this? Well, instead of selling yourself, tell a story. Tell your story. You are a unique individual with your own experiences and strengths to share, so why not make that the topic of your interview?

For example, when the interviewer asks you to “tell me about your career”, instead of going “oh I went to this school then I transferred here and got a job here and now I’m here because I know I can offer the company this…..” and all that, why not actually tell the highlights of your career.

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Tell the Manager how you started out in college and why you took that major.

Tell them about how you’ve always had a passion for this and how your previous work or hobbies let you gain a certain mastery or skill.

Tell them how you landed your first job, and how you transferred from product engineering  to process engineering because you’ve worked so often with it and always had a knack for it.

Tell them about your plans and goals.

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This way, you’re not only giving a sense of connection to the manager, but you’re indirectly selling yourself by saying which things you were good at and what you’ve done successfully for which company.

Also, it’s much easier to come up with answers when you’re talking about your own life story.


But it doesn’t stop there, another smart thing to do is ask the manager about their story.

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Ask about that recent venture that company had with certain investors.

Ask about how that impacted their workforce, and if that’s the reason why they’re looking to hire more people.

Ask if there’s any other reason they’re looking to hire more employees for the position you’re looking for, etc.

This not only makes it look like you’re listening well to their questions, but it also implies that you’re smart and you’re here for business.

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At the same time, you’re also getting to know the company, and understand what they want you to offer, which you can use to your advantage, as well as know whether you truly want this job or not.

Its 2 birds with one stone!

Hopefully, this article will help you understand that there’s not just one way of nailing that interview and getting that job you want. Sometimes, it just takes some clever storytelling and story-asking.

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Engr. Amal Grover
A chemical engineer at Tata Chemicals. Indiana Institute of Technology alumni. Blogging about cool stuff. Follow me on Facebook


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