This is what the experts have to say.

We all want to walk into the interview ready to nail the first impression and receive that coveted job offer at the end. But do you know how to do that? It's simple: You need a job-winning elevator pitch. You do need to put some thought and creativity into it, but once you do that, it's as simple as being yourself and talking to your interviewer.  

So, what exactly is an elevator pitch? Well, it's the statement that you use to sell yourself to prospective employers during the interview. Lasting roughly between 15 and 45 seconds, your pitch is the quick and concise explanation for why you are the right candidate for the position, showcasing your achievements and personality. Now, of course, your interviewer isn't going to ask for your elevator pitch outright. Instead, expect to use it to answer questions like “Why should we hire you?” or “Tell me about yourself.”

Great — but how do you do it well? Instead of having myself write a long, detailed article, why don't I let these HR and recruiting experts fill you in?

Hook your interviewer  

“The way to cook up a memorable elevator pitch that generates exceptional results requires a simple, secret ingredient: a tiny taste of delicious cheesecake. The idea is to submit a sample of information that - like a bite of sweet cheesecake - is fresh, irresistible, and makes whoever you're speaking with want more.” — Rafe Gomez, Co-Owner, VC Inc. Marketing

“An elevator pitch should give a concise overview of why you are suited for a role and why you want it. The best elevator pitches don't delve into the detail, avoid jargon, and are accessible to all parties. It's often your first impression and should be memorable and demonstrate passion, enthusiasm, capability. If you can express that you're both interested and interesting, this should stand you in good stead for the rest of the interview.”  — Lars Herrem, Group Executive Director, Nigel Wright Group

Keep it direct and concise

“Interviewers are looking for candidates to be direct and to the point. Candidates should have the knowledge of what the interviewer is looking for based on their recruiter or from the job description they were given or saw online. It is essential for candidates to point out examples of the work they have done that matches what the client is looking for. You have to be concise and stay on message – just talking for the sake of talking won't help you.” Tom McGee, VP & General Manager, Lucas Group

“Candidates should be concise and to the point when presenting (and creating) their elevator pitch. Their pitch should be well rehearsed, and they should not be forgetting what they're saying or stumble with their words when delivering it. We like to see confidence and poise when the pitch is being delivered.” Jacob Dayan, CEO & Co-Founder, Community Tax and Finance Pal

Answer the important questions

“Your elevator pitch needs to answer the Who-What-Where-Wow questions...who are you professionally, what are your areas of expertise relevant to this role, where have you worked in the past, and what are the "wow" things that you have done. All of those answers should be geared towards solving your future employer's problem and helping that team and company achieve the top results.”Madelyn Mackie, Chief Career Activator, Madelyn Mackie & Associates

Highlight why you're the perfect candidate

“Elevator pitches should be concise, clear and memorable. They should be adaptable to the person you're speaking with and clearly demonstrate what you do and why it matters to them. Don't be generic about your strengths and capabilities, but instead contextualize your achievements to create a greater distinction between yourself and others in your field. For example rather than just saying you were able to increase sales by 300% year over year, explain that in contrast to the average performer on the sales team who typically grows their accounts by 25% year over year, you were among the top three performers in your company. Finally, round out your pitch with your goals and next steps for your career.” — Georgene Huang, CEO & Co-Founder, Fairygodboss

“What I look for in an elevator pitch is a candidate's past, present, and future. That is, their background, current skill set, and accomplishments, and the value they intend to offer their future employer. The pitches that stand out the most for me are those that are supported by solid examples and anecdotes that help to demonstrate what the candidate would bring to the table if hired.” Chris Chancey, Founder,  Amplio Recruiting

“The most successful elevator pitches are specific and correlated to the job posting. We have a job, you want this job, now tell us why it's a good match. Talk specifically to how you can get THIS job done using your past experiences and as much metrics as possible. Everything can be quantified if you get creative...projects worked on, designs made, employees hired, meetings ran, revenue produced etc.” — Greg Kuchcik, VP of HR, Zeeto

Showcase your career superpowers

“We all have a unique set of experiences, skills, and interests. Where these attributes intersect with a passion for the task, we get a job performance superpower. Elevator pitches should focus on this superpower that you have.” Jason Lavis, Marketing Director, Natural Resources Professionals Limited

Not sure what to do with this information on elevator pitches? Our TopInterview coaches can help you make sense of it all!

Recommended Reading:

Related Articles: