Interviewing well is a skill that you can learn, so if you want to perform to the best of your ability in an interview, this article will give you some great tips and interview techniques on how to shine and stand out from the crowd.
Performing well in an interview is more than just turning up, smiling and answering a few questions. If you want to land that ideal job you have to prepare, practice and perform. Follow the simple steps below to grasp interview techniques to give you the best possible chance.
Interview, Interview and Interview
It’s important to get as much practice as possible when it comes to interviews, therefore the more you do, the better you will be. Apply for as many jobs as you can within your preferred area of business. Try not to dismiss interview opportunities based on narrow criteria, as you never know, that ‘wrong’ job could result in a surprising match, an entirely new position could emerge tailored to fit your unique experience and abilities.
Being fully prepared for your interview will result in you being comfortable, relaxed and more able to tackle the whole experience. Read through the following tips to help you prepare:
* Re-visit the job description, identifying what skills, interests and experiences the employer is looking for
* Review your CV and consider how you’ll explain any gaps or problem areas
* Find out about the company’s vision, products, culture and what is current
* Research their competitors
* Think about potential questions and consider your answer
* Choose your outfit the night before and plan your journey, aiming to arrive at least ten minutes early
* Think about a positive and happy time before the interview starts
* Visualise yourself in complete control during the interview
Tell your Story
Every one of us has a unique and interesting story, so learn to tell your story well. Think about the chapters of your life; major events and memories that have helped to shape who you are. How your life has evolved, what you have learnt, your achievements and successes, but remember to always stay positive.
Your story is a very powerful interview tool as it will help the interviewer better understand who you are, it will also enable you to see that your life has not just been a string of random events. Your story has a past, and it has a future, and the road ahead becomes clearer when you understand where you have been.
Your story will help you to improve your confidence, self-awareness and make you memorable. Below are a few tips with examples, for you to consider when putting your story together:
* How did you get to where you are – hard work, determination, self-development
* Why did you make certain choices – relocation, gut instinct, to get ahead
* Who helped you along the way – teachers, ex-bosses, siblings
* What motivated you then and now – passion, money, diversity
* What are your passions – mentoring, research, helping others
* What kind of employee are you – leader, strong team player, risk taker
When you have developed your story, you will need to practice telling it – saying it out loud, ideally to others. Don’t wait until the interview to tell it for the first time.
Calm Those Nerves
The importance of overcoming nerves and expressing the real you shouldn’t be underestimated. Nerves can make you forget to listen. Some ideas for combating nerves include:
* Pause before answering a difficult question to give yourself thinking time, ask for the question to be repeated if necessary
* Put everything into perspective, remind yourself that the worst thing that can happen is that you won’t get the job
* Speak slowly and clearly
* Don’t forget to breathe!
Boost your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
It’s not always the smartest person that gets the job. A successful candidate is often one who has the best ‘people skills’, or the highest EQ. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, understand, utilise and manage emotions in positive ways in order to communicate effectively and empathise with others.
Look at and work on the following EQ attributes to improve your performance:
* Engage with people in a way that draws them to you
* Recognise your own emotional state and the emotional states of others
* Communicate effectively and develop strong relationships
* Manage stress easily and quickly
Body Language Do’s and Don’ts
Make Eye Contact
Show you’re paying attention and engaging with the situation by holding eye contact for a few seconds at a time. If there is more than one interviewer, be sure to make eye contact with all of them. Address the person who asked the question, then hold eye contact with the other interviewers for a few seconds, before returning your attention to the first interviewer.
Smile and nod where appropriate, and laugh when the interviewer does. You want to show you have a personality and you’re really listening to what’s being said.
Sitting hunched forward, or lounging with arms and legs everywhere has the effect of looking a little too relaxed so sit upright and straight with your hands placed casually on your lap.
Mirroring a nod or a subtle shift in posture can create common ground between two people, and you can quickly get on good terms with your interviewer by matching their positive body language. But do so sparingly and carefully; if you’re too bold you’re more likely to frighten the poor interviewer!
This includes tapping your fingertips in the arm rest or jiggling your leg up or down. It’s a sign of boredom, impatience and nerves. Keep both feet firmly on the floor to avoid the temptation. This will help to keep your posture straight and focused on the interviewer.
Touching your face
Try to avoid playing with your hair or excessively touching your face as it is very distracting for the interviewer. Don’t rub your head or neck; it can give the impression of being bored or disinterested.