How to communicate in an interview
Getting an interview is an exciting and important step in getting hired.
The interview will be focused on a conversation whether face to face, skype / zoom etc and it is aimed at discovering more about your personality, skills and qualifications. Communicating well during your interview is a critical part of the process and will allow you to best represent yourself and get hired.
Communicating During the Interview
1. Don't be afraid to be yourself. Showing some of your personality can be a great idea during the interview. It will help the interviewer to learn more about you as a person and will allow you to speak enthusiastically about your professional interests and skills.
2. Try to relate personal details to the requirements of the job. When you discuss any personal topics, you can relate them to skills that are relevant to the position you are interviewing for. This will allow you to express both your personality and illustrate your skills and experience.
- You could talk about how you taught yourself a language or technology to illustrate that you can learn new skills and techniques.
- Discussing how you helped organize a tech community event can exemplify your leadership skills for example.
3. Act, speak, and dress accordingly. During the interview it will be important that you act, speak and dress according the environment. By presenting yourself as a competent and serious applicant you will be more likely to make a good first impression. Wearing clothes appropriate to the position that you are interviewing for is mandatory for a successful interview.
- Make sure you are dressed appropriately for your interview. Ask your contact at the company what the dress code is like where you are interviewing.
- Don't use any slang or colloquialisms. Speaking like you would with friends or family is generally too casual for an interview.
- Avoid using any filler words like “um” or “uh”. It's acceptable to leave pauses in your speech. It is better to pause and think then say something irrelevant etc for the sake of avoiding a gap.
4. Express skills that employers are looking for. During the interview, you will want to convey that you have the skills and talents that your employer is looking for. Many potential employers look for similar skills during the interview. Review the following list of skills that you can discuss during the interview:
- Possession of communication skills. This can be demonstrated during the course of the interview itself.
- Being knowledgeable about the company. Research the company and think of some talking points or questions you can bring up.
- Skilled and competent with technology. Don't be afraid to discuss your abilities with standard technology skills, such as word processors or any specialized programs.
- Able to manage resources. Find a time in your career that will illustrate your ability to work with a budget.
- Adaptable to new situations. Discuss a time in your professional life when you were able to find success even during a time of change.
- Capable of leadership. Illustrate a time in your last position when you were a leader, focusing on what you learned from it.
5. Be aware of your body language. A majority of the interview will make use of verbal communication. However, there will also be information conveyed using non-verbal body language. Pay careful attention to your non-verbal communications to make a great impression during your interview.
- Appear confident and calm.
- Avoid yawning or appearing distracted.
- Make eye contact and smile occasionally to show a positive attitude.
- Don't forget to breathe! Holding your breath or breathing too much can appear as a lack of confidence.
6. Stay positive. When you are discussing any topic or answering a question during the interview, you should always focus your response on positive aspects. Keeping the interview focused on the best aspects of yourself and your situation can increase your chances of getting the job.
- If a negative question or detail comes up, talk about the positive aspects of it.
- Framing a failure as a learning experience can be a good way to stay positive.
- Instead of complaining about a difficult time, describe how it made you a more capable person.
- Even if an original goal didn't work out, you can illustrate your adaptability and how you were able to work with change.
- Confidence over arrogance – don’t preach you know everything inside out even if you think you do. Companies really buy into being humble!
7. Listen carefully. You will want to carefully listen to anything your interviewer says during the interview. Paying careful attention will help you answer questions accurately and directly. Taking in details of the conversation can also help you think of any questions you might have for the interviewer.
- Avoid thinking about your response as the interviewer is speaking. Wait until they are done speaking before thinking about your reply.
- Listening carefully will let you hear details that may have been missed otherwise.
- Listen and reply with a relevant answer - NOT actually answering the question is one of the biggest faux pas and reasons for failure in interviews.