In today’s competitive job market, face-to-face job interviews are like gold. Once you get one, you need to do everything you can to perform your best and come out on top. And job interview skills have become even more important when you consider that you will probably need to change jobs more often in the future and survive more rounds of interviews prior to each hiring decision. You just can’t afford to be a poor or mediocre interviewee.
The good news is that most interviewees are relatively unstrategic and underprepared. With superior strategies and preparation, you can gain a competitive advantage and greatly increase your odds of acing your next interviews.
Here’s an example: A recent client prepared properly for his interviews and ran through each of four back to back one-hour interviews confidently. Between each interview, each interviewer gave feedback to the hiring manager. He walked into the fifth interview, which was with the hiring manager. As he sat down, the hiring manager looked at him and said “You really prepared for this, didn’t you?” Three days later, he had a job offer for a job he desperately wanted with an employer far superior to his current one. The point of my story is that his preparation allowed him to perform confidently and effectively, which the interviewers clearly were able to see.
You can do what he did, by incorporating these seven tips quoted from Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!):
“Smile more and be more friendly.” Most interviewers want to hire friendly people who appear well adjusted.
“Remain aware of your body language and movements.” You can tune into these by getting a friend to conduct a practice interview and videoing your performance.
“Mirror the interviewer, if positive.” Modifying your body language and speech rate to better match the interviewer will tend to make him/her feel more comfortable with you.
“Keep your responses and explanations under 60 seconds on a consistent basis.” You will appear more intelligent and prepared it you keep your answers crisp and avoid rambling.
“Diagnose before you prescribe.” Where possible, gain information from research and from questions in the interview before drawing conclusions and offering suggestions.
“After diagnosing, offer highly relevant information that will be of interest or help.” By focusing your remarks on the business needs of the specific employer and exact role, you will be viewed as a better match for their needs.
“Encourage the interviewer to do more of the talking than you do.” I know this is not always possible, but keeping this tip in mind will tend to curb any tendencies you may have to drone on myopically while reminding you to engage the interviewer rather than simply talk at them.
Some of these suggestions may seem obvious, but people frequently overlook them. I encourage you to try them and would love to hear your suggestions, too.
Richard Kirby is an executive career consultant, speaker on career strategies, and author of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!). Richard Kirby’s earlier experience includes managing engineering, human resources, marketing and sales teams for employers that ranged from a Fortune 100 to a VC-funded entrepreneurial startup. For the past 11 years at Executive Impact, Richard has helped hundreds of executives and professionals successfully navigate today’s transformed 21st century job market and achieve better employment for themselves. Richard’s expertise includes career assessments and goal setting, personal marketing/branding, resume enhancement, strategic networking and job interviewing, and “contrarian” job search methodologies. He is a Board Certified Coach (in career coaching) and a Certified Management Consultant (recognized by the ISO).