Keep Your Interview Skills Sharp
Research shows that as much as 92% of the population fears at least one aspect of the interview process.
From “trick” questions to incomplete answers of communication interview questions, you’ve probably gone through an interview or two that could have ended better if everyone was on the same page.
The best interview tips you’ll come across usually focus on what the candidate needs to say or do to create the WOW factor, but we believe communication is a two-way street: Both parties need to bring their A-game to impress one another.
If your interview skills could use a good polish—as the candidate or the interviewer—check out our tips here.
Interview Skills Every Candidate Needs
Not all career moves are made solely for growth. There are occasions when job seekers are in the market for a new job because they’re desperate to get out of their current one. Although this may be true, don’t make the mistake of blurting it out during your job interview!
Instead, do your research on the company; find out what it’s about and why taking a position with them would make you happier than you are in your job now. What is it about the business that makes you a good fit (and vice-versa)? Communicating passion and interest in what the company does and how you play into it will help your interview skills and possibly score you a second round.
Every presentation—and that includes an interview—is more effective if you make a connection with your audience. It’s up to you as the “presenter” to create that connection. So, here’s a tip: Always try to “match their energy,” meaning if the interviewer is excited, you get excited too. If the interviewer is docile and meek, be equally demure without losing your enthusiasm. Finding common ground from the beginning will create a smooth transition into the interview.
Don’t forget about your non-verbal communication! Interviews can be intense After all, the person or panel interviewing you is there to evaluate you and your answers to determine your potential fit in the company. You may project your answers clearly and concisely, but none of that matters if you’re chewing gum or fidgeting with the string on your sleeve.
If you aren’t sure if your non-verbal interview skills are up to par, try having a friend interview you or practice in front of a mirror.
Remember an interview is not a one-sided conversation and the end of an interview is an ideal time to ask further questions to show your interest in the role. Ask about next steps, career growth, or for any advice/feedback so you can keep improving your interview skills.
Employers Need Good Interview Skills, Too
Just as it’s important for a candidate to do his or her research, it’s equally important for an interviewer to do some preliminary research, too.
Interview preparation begins with having an understanding of the job seeker’s resume and their intentions for attending the interview. Have they studied something interesting? Do you know the companies they are coming from? Knowing what you plan to chat about ahead of time will ensure a smoother conversation during the interview.
Here’s what else you can do:
Build rapport from the get-go. Regardless of how strong a candidate’s interview skills are, entering a room with a panel of strangers who will grill them about their experience can be a little daunting to anyone.
Pairing with the “know your candidate” point, create an inviting environment when they show up to help eliminate nervous traits from the beginning. Did you graduate from the same University? Is traffic extra terrible that day? Find a casual conversation piece to discuss in order to build rapport from the moment they enter the room.
Pay attention to body language communication. If you think communication is purely verbal, it’s time to remember the phrase “actions speak louder than words.”
When a candidate is answering questions, pay attention to anything you may be doing to signal discontent or anxiousness: Does your face get stern when you’re thinking? Are you crossing your arms? Perhaps you are tapping your pen on the table? What may seem like comfortable, subconscious actions to you can be screaming red flags to the person across the table.
Effective Communication Interview Questions
Outside of the standard “Tell us about your resume” and “Why do you want to work here?” questions that arise in every interview room, it is important to incorporate communication interview questions to gauge their speaking skills. Some common ones are:
- Explain a time you failed and what you did to overcome it?
- What are you looking for in a new role that was missing in your last/current role?
- Where do you see yourself in a year? How about 5?
The interview skills you’re looking for here include honesty (why do they really want to work for you?) and their ability to communicate a concise answer (Are they rambling? Are they off topic?)
Soft skills are equally vital as technical for many positions, so these communication interview questions will help a strong candidate stand out.
Interview Tips for the Best Outcome
There’s nothing worse than being told “We’ll let you know,” only to never hear from the interviewer again.
If you tell a candidate you will let them know if they are moving on to the next round, definitely follow up regardless if the news is positive or not.
Above all else, learn from every interview, whether you’re the one applying for the job or the one hiring for it. Interviews are prime opportunities to improve your presentation and communication skills. They provide a means for the candidate to practice effectively communicating with people you find intimidating, and a chance for the interviewer to communicate in a way that delivers a positive first impression.