A young officer called me after he completed his job interview — the outcome was not that good. He was kicking himself for not "selling himself" to the interview panel. He was beat.
In this case, this young man is a quiet, go-about-business kind of guy. There is not one speck of braggadocio in his DNA. He goes about life and work in a stoic manner and could not get across that "I am your guy" idea to the board. What to do?
A Southern philosopher once said, "if you don't blow your own horn, somebody else will use it as a spittoon." This was the case here, some horn-blowing and self-selling was required. He didn't and, well, you know the rest of the story.
In cases such as this, you must often give more in the interview — show the energy and drive you have to become their officer selection. Interview boards don't understand the "I will give you an honest day's work for an honest day's pay" work ethic. They want energy, motivation and somebody who is clamoring for the position.
This may or may not be you, but you are your agent. Pro athletes have agents with their statistics, batting averages, 40-yard times and can explain how the player will make the team better. You don't have an agent; you're pleading your own case.
Now, not just words but these favored traits are read in your body language more so than verbally. Don't slouch, melt into the chair or lean all over the desk. Come in, scan the room, keep eye contact, sit with energy and show the entire board that you are all there — body, mind and spirit.
The telephone interview is hardest of all; it's difficult to convey energy in an one-sense medium. Your word selection should also convey energy and drive. Instead of, "I'd really like to get this job," try "I look forward to being a part of this agency's future." Watch your word selection and keep energy in your voice intonation. No lulling them to sleep. Don't mumble. A misunderstood word is a "blah, blah, blah." They never ask; they just mark you off.
Get in front of full-size mirror. How do you enter the room to the chair of inquisition? Practice in your business attire, how you will sit with suit buttons open or closed. Hint: get a hard wooden chair. If you practice while uncomfortable, you will perform.
Get some trusted friends to interview you, so you can practice questions and responses. You may only get one real opportunity at the job, this element is just as important as the physical agility. You did some extra road miles didn't you? This is no different. You have to work at this if you want the job.
Practice selling to others how well you'll do. You know yourself better than anyone else in the room. Tell me why you want this job and what you'll bring to the table. Remember, there could be someone wanting to use your horn as a spittoon.