Top Ten Interview Skills

Top Ten Interview Skills
For some people an interview can feel so daunting that they’d rather not think about it beforehand but hope that they can wing it on the day.  But if you just rely on leaving it to luck you are more likely to be affected by nerves and come across hesitant.  However, with some careful planning and thought you can ensure that you present yourself confidently and professionally on the day.
Here are some important things to consider before and during the interview:

1.      Do your research 
Find out as much as you can about the company prior to the interview – so that you can sound knowledgeable and enthusiastic about wanting to work there.  You can check out the company website get a feel for the company and its vision.  Also look at any relevant articles/publications to see what has recently been written about your potential employer and their industry.

2.      Prepare your questions
To avoid your mind going blank during the interview, prepare beforehand by brainstorming all the possible questions you may get asked.  Look at the job description to see what sort of qualities, skills and experience are needed for the role.  Here are a few common questions that you could get asked:
·        Tell me about yourself
·        How would your current boss describe you?
·        What are the main strengths you’d bring to this job?
·        Show me how you use your communication skills in your current job
·        Why do you want this job?

3.      Practice your responses
To help structure clear and succinct responses to each question, write down your ideal response to each question you have listed.  Then practise each response out aloud.  By speaking your response out aloud rather than just in your head you will remember the key words and phrases to use in the actual interview and this will help you to come across more confidently even if you are feeling nervous.

4.      Allow enough time
Arrive at the venue in plenty of time - about fifteen minutes before the interview.  Check the time, date and location of the interview the day before and spend time working out the best way to get there.  Allow plenty of time, anticipating any delays. There’s nothing worse that arriving in a panic if you think you are going to be late.

5.      Know your Interview Panel
Make sure that you have the full names and roles of each of the interviewers.  Learn these off by heart.  The more familiar you are with them, the easier it will feel when you meet them - as if you have already met them before.  This will help you to appear more approachable and feel more confident at the start of the interview.

6.      Control your nerves
It’s easy for the nerves to build up while you are waiting for your interview and you need to be able to know how to control them so that they don’t take over when you start.  To help do this you can use a simple breathing technique – by focusing on breathing out for as long as possible to help release any tension in the body.  You will find that your in-breath is deeper and more controlled and this will help to feel calmer before you start. You can so this sitting or standing or even walking around.

7.      Slow down
Take care not to race ahead when you first start to speak in the interview.  This can happen when you are keen to get your ideas across too quickly.  But if you speak too fast you will find it harder to stay focused and may start to ramble or lose track of your key points.  Also your interviewers will find it harder to follow.  So focus on slowing down when you first start to speak – especially your first few words.  Make sure that you pronounce each word carefully and then pause after your first sentence for a few seconds – it may feel like an eternity but your listeners need time to take in what you are saying.

8.      Make eye contact
Don’t forget to look at your interviewers when speaking to them so that you really feel that you are having a conversation with them.   A key time to look at your interviewer (s) is at the end of a sentence as this will help you to appear more convincing in your response.  If you look down at this point your words will lose conviction.

9.      Understand the question
Always listen carefully to the interviewer’s question first and don’t try to formulate a response in your head before you have fully heard it and understood it.  Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you need to.  This will also buy you time to think about your response.

10.     Finish confidently
Even if everything hasn’t quite gone to plan it’s important that you finish confidently – with a firm hand shake and thanking the interviewer(s) for their time.  This will demonstrate that you have good communication skills and help to leave your interviewers with a strong impression.

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Career Magazine: Top Ten Interview Skills
Top Ten Interview Skills
Career Magazine
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