How to prepare an interview elevator pitch

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published On: 20 Nov 2020

Elevator Pitch Hero Image

An interview ‘elevator pitch’ is just like a well thought out introduction and it’s always good to have one ready. Not just for interviews, but for recruitment opportunities that are sometimes thrust upon you. You never know when you’ll need to use your elevator pitch but having one thought out, is better than being put on the spot.

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is typically no longer than 30 – 40 seconds, no longer than a quick conversation in a lift. (Hence the name) You should be able to be thorough but concise, you don’t want to get caught up and end up talking for far too long.

It should typically include an introduction to who you are, your current or last job title and what makes you a good candidate for the role you are interviewing for. The whole point of a pitch is to make sure you have got the interviewers attention; you want them interested and ready to ask you more questions.

It’s also a good icebreaker. The first thing you typically do in an interview is say hello and introduce yourself. It’s nice to get a few details about yourself out there and this kind of answer will be great for questions like ‘Tell me a bit about yourself?’.

What to include

  • Your name
  • Your current or last job title
  • Your job target
  • Why choose you?

Your name and your job title are obvious things, you mention these in almost every interview you’ve ever had. However, you’re trying to sell yourself in this pitch, so your targets are very important to mention. You want to tell them why you want this role, what it will do for your career and how it will help you get where you want to be. It can be hard to narrow this down into a few words but it’s possible and the interviewer is likely to pick this point up again later in the interview. You also want to add in a little bit about why you would be good for the job, just to finish off the introduction. Nothing wrong with a little self-confidence.

Tailor it

Although your elevator pitch is all about selling yourself, you still want to tailor it to the employer, just like you would with your CV. You are telling them why you would be a good candidate for THEIR role, so make sure you are coinciding with the job description.

Much like your CV, you don’t have much time to impress the interviewer. If you don’t keep it interesting, it won’t be memorable. You want to keep them interested and eager to keep asking questions once you are finished. Know your audience and use your unique selling point.


How to prepare for it

I find that the easiest way to prepare for anything is to write down an initial ideas or thoughts that come to mind. This way, when you’re writing up a draft, you won’t forget anything. It’s a good idea to write your pitch a few times, work on drafts and take a day or two away from it to ensure that you have a fresh pair of eyes working on it.

Once it’s written, it’s a good idea to practice out loud. This isn’t to ensure that you remember every single word, but more for the timing element of it. You don’t want to spend too long talking, you want to keep it brief. So, timing yourself helps you know if you’ve written too much. It can take time, but once you have something good, it can be used again and tailored for each interview.

You want to have a good amount of practice saying it out loud because you want it to feel and sound natural and authentic. You don’t want to be speaking too fast, despite the time limit. You want the interviewer to hear all the details your giving them, don’t over think it and start rambling too fast.

Example

Hello, my name is ‘Harry’. After graduation from ‘Coventry University’ with my bachelor’s degree in ‘engineering’, I’ve spent the last 5 years building my professional experience and portfolio in the ‘aerospace industry’. I’ve successfully managed to develop my skills and lead a team of 5 in my latest project. I was excited to see the opportunity advertised at your company as I’ve always been passionate about ‘aerospace engineering’ and would love to stay in this sector. I would love to bring my project management and leadership skills to your team. Could you tell me more about the projects you are currently working on?

The example above can be changed around your interests and obviously for the sector you are working in. It’s short, to the point and ends with a question. This can be a really good way of starting the conversation with the interviewer and keeping it natural. By simply preparing this for the beginning of your interview, you are already setting yourself up for success. Preparation can help you feel more comfortable and keep nerves at bay.