People spend thousands of hours getting a degree and yet usually no more than 1 hour preparing for an interview, even though an interview can really be the difference between progressing your career and falling behind.
I want to share with you some things I have picked up from experts in the career field to help you succeed professionally in the job interview process.
Interviewing skills are important as a hiring manager but also as an applicant. Today, we will be focusing on tips for job applicants.
An interview is more than just answering questions. You are there to convey your key messages. A majority of the work should be done and prepared before you walk into the interview. These things include research about the company, developing relationships with employees there, preparation for the company, and presenting your best self.
1. Be More Enthusiastic
Psychology and human nature show us that people respond better to enthusiasm. If you’re more enthusiastic in your response, it shows that you are deeply interested and engaged with the position.
People like your energy, they like being around you, and they think you will do a better job in the role if you show interest.
So practice on fixing your lack of enthusiasm.
2. Fix Your Body Language
You may be doing things that you are unaware of with your body language that are turning people off. Fix this.
Use a mirror. Record yourself or get friends to interview you when you practice.
Key things to avoid are slouching in the chair, having bad grooming, poor posture, or an unpleasant facial expression. These things matter!
If you don’t care for yourself or don’t look engaged, you will appear sloppy and unprofessional. These are the small things that people know about but don’t ever do anything to change. These smalls things matter!
3. Don’t Downplay Your Skills and Experience
Some people underplay their accomplishments. An interview is not a time to do this!
You want to own and show off the best skills you have.
Avoid phrases like “Yeah, I did that, but…”
4. Avoid Low Self-Esteem Intonation
Make sure the tone of your voice is confident but not arrogant. Avoid having a tone of insecurity or desperation.
You want to give the impression that you are confident, capable, and have options. Don’t get overconfident as it is a turn-off, but don’t be unconfident either.
5. Avoid Monotone Behavior
Don’t be robotic or monotone in how you talk or how you behave. We can be fairly animated with our friends, but somehow lose all personality during an interview process.
Make sure to keep some energy. Don’t go overboard, though. It’s still a professional scene.
But remember to show some energy in your tone of voice and make to smile occasionally rather than be constantly serious or low-energy. You don’t want to be lifeless and bore your interviewer.
When you tell stories showcasing your experience, you can keep them better engaged by showing more emotion.
6. Study The Best
Study videos on the internet of the best in the world at showing personality and likeability on TV.
TV show anchors or Ellen DeGeneres are great.
Study people like President Obama and other commencement speeches for people who can deliver their message concisely and without stuttering or rambling.
7. Be Concise and Don’t Ramble
An inexperienced interviewee will ramble and spend over 20 minutes on an answer that can be conveyed concisely in 2 minutes. You don’t want to add unnecessary information. If you do, you can bore and annoy your interviewer.
Practice interviewing with your friends and see if you can concisely package a response within 2 minutes to standard interview questions they always ask like”What is your greatest weakness?”
8. Use Stories That Show Off Specific Skills
Prepare and practice a few stories that you can pull out every time to show your skills.
Make sure your stories show past experience that shows off your higher-level skills and more specific, quantifiable skills that you were responsible for.
Remember, an interview is not a time to be modest or downplay what you’ve done.
9. Prepare Something To Show Them Beforehand
Do a small project and bring it to the interview to show you can go above and beyond.
It doesn’t have to be and probably shouldn’t be too over the top.
Examples include: bringing in a visual sample of your accomplishments, doing a small project for them ahead of time related to your role, or preparing a project ahead of time without them asking for it on what you would do to dramatically help their company.
10. Don’t Lie. Be your Best Self.
If you lie or pretend to be someone you are not, you will be sniffed out, especially if it’s a higher level position. Instead, you should truly become the best you can be at the role so that you are not preparing fake answers to questions, but simply answering questions as you actually are.
Therefore, no unexpected question thrown at you can stump you because it’s just who you actually are.
Although information is important, it doesn’t always translate to results because people don’t execute on what they learn.
The real winners will be the ones who actually take this advice and spend countless hours practicing and preparing their interview skills.
Here’s a quick summary to look at:
- Show enthusiasm
- Avoid low self-esteem or monotone intonation
- Be concise, don’t ramble
- Use stories that show off specific skills
- Prepare something for them beforehand
- Don’t downplay your skills or experiences
- Have good body language