shutterstock_141886996I spoke to a career group last weekend and my speech was titled Seven Critical Career Questions. The questions covered topics that ranged from choosing a profession to improving your interview results. I want to share what I told them about interviewing in this blog post.

As I mention in Chapter 14 of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!),

“Interviewing has become a performance art and the person who handles the interview process best tends to get the job.”

What do I mean when saying that interviewing has become a performance art? Just like an actor auditioning for a part in a play, your job interview is your audition for a part in a company’s daily operations. In each case the desired result is picking the candidate who will perform best in their role.

So, here are four tips to improve your performance:

  1. Do your research – Be prepared to demonstrate that you have done your home work. You need to be able to discuss the company intelligently and know enough about the interviewers to engage them with your knowledge of them. The company website, Google searches, and LinkedIn are generally helpful.
  2. Smile more. The fact is that people many times get nervous when they interview and fail to smile. Smiling more makes you appear friendlier and well adjusted…. even easygoing! Smiling also tends to cause the interviewer to smile, which reduces their nervousness and makes them feel better.
  3. Keep answers under 60 seconds – Interviewers are regular people and regular people have short attention spans. Keeping your answer compact will keep their attention. It also forces you to be more hard-hitting and to the point. It also prevents you from rambling and getting lost.
  4. End strongly – The most important parts of the interview tend to be the beginning, when you are making a first impression, and the ending. A strong ending leaves the meeting on a strong note. Express confidence in your ability to do the job as well as strong interest in having the job.

Many people accomplish some portion of this list, but few people I have met do a good job of accomplishing all of them.

The next time you have an interview for a job you really want, make the effort to follow these four tips and you will increase your odds of success considerably.