Going into a job interview can be a stressful and intimidating experience. When you’re trying to present the best image possible to your new potential employer, you may be nervous about the impression you’re making. If you’re feeling stressed, it may prevent you from accurately explaining your passions, experience and interest in the job.
Communication is key during any interview, regardless of the position you’re interviewing for. If you want to get the job, you need to be able to effectively communicate why you’re the best fit for the position.
To help you communicate your skills more efficiently, here are a few tips you should follow during any job interview.
1. Make a strong first impression.
Your first impression may be the most important part of your entire interview. First impressions usually stick, meaning that if you don’t present the very best version of yourself right off the bat, you can struggle to regain credibility.
When you begin the interview, be sure to shake hands with your interviewer and introduce yourself. If there are other team members in the room, introduce yourself to them the same way. Stay confident, make eye contact and maintain a firm handshake.
2. Speak clearly and with confidence.
It’s normal to feel a bit nervous when you’re in an interview, but you don’t want those nerves to influence the way you speak. If you allow the nerves to influence the way you answer questions or respond to the interviewer, you can come across unsure of yourself or not answer to the best of your ability.
Avoid saying “um” or other filler words as much as possible. If you need time to think about the right answer, it’s OK to take a moment before you respond. Speak calmly and try to talk as naturally as possible.
3. Remember to smile.
When you’re being interviewed for a job, the hiring manager is looking for more than just your qualifications. They’re also evaluating whether or not you’ll make a good fit in the office. This means you’ll want to present yourself as a team player and enjoyable to be around.
Something as simple as smiling while you’re talking can be enough to seem more personable. Be friendly and warm, but still focused. If you come across too hard or rigid, the hiring manager may think you could be difficult to work with. Naturally smile while you’re responding to questions.
4. Use storytelling.
Sometimes, the best way to respond to a question is with a story. Stories can make your interview more interesting and give the hiring manager something to remember you by. With the right story, you can build a strong connection with your interviewer and create a more natural dialogue.
Before you head into the interview, try to think of a few stories that relate your expertise or experience with the job qualifications. Rehearse the events in your head so you don’t get tripped up when trying to tell them in the interview. Remember the key points you’d like to touch on to be sure you get the point across.
5. Ask your own questions.
During the interview process, most of the focus is on you. Because the hiring manager is looking to get to know you, it can feel like you’re in the hot seat. However, this one-sided conversation can make the flow seem unnatural and prevent you and your hiring manager from making a strong connection.
Feel free to ask your hiring manager some questions, as well. While the questions you ask may be very different from the questions they’re asking you, creating a two-way dialogue can make the interview process much easier. Think of some things you want to know about the company, what the hiring manager likes about the company and questions that pertain specifically to the position requirements.
6. Know your interviewer.
Each company may approach the hiring process a bit differently. At one interview, you may be talking with an HR representative. At another, you may be interviewed by someone in the department you’ll be working with. Each of these interviews may look different, and you’ll want to respond differently to keep the conversation going.
When you’re interviewing with an HR professional, they may not know much about the specific details of the job. Answering with technical details or corporate jargon can put up a wall between the two of you, making it difficult to connect. Save the more detailed responses for interviews with department heads or potential supervisors.
To communicate best in your next interview, you’ll need to plan properly. Take some time to consider what potential questions you may be asked and how you’d like to answer them. Rehearse your stories and research the individual you’ll be talking with. With the right preparation, you can stay confident throughout your entire interview.