Top 10 Interview Strategies

Did you know even the smartest and most qualified job seekers still need to prepare for job interviews.  Here are 10 interview strategies for you to consider:

1. Practice good non-verbal communication

It’s about demonstrating confidence. Standing straight, making eye contact and connecting with a firm handshake. That first non-verbal impression can be a great beginning, or quick ending, to your interview.

Hint: when you are waiting in the reception for your interviewer to arrive, remain standing and facing the direction you think they will most likely appear from. That first connection is critical.

2.  Dress for the job or company

Today’s casual dress codes do not give you permission to dress as “they” do when you interview. It is important to know what to wear to an interview and to be well-groomed. Whether you wear a suit or something less formal depends on the company culture and the position you are seeking. If possible, call to find out about the company dress code before the interview.

3.  Be curious

From the very beginning of the interview, your interviewer is giving you information, either directly or indirectly. If you are not hearing it, you are missing a major opportunity. Good communication skills include listening and letting the person know you heard what was said. Observe your interviewer, and match that style and pace.

4.  Don’t talk too much

Telling the interviewer more than they need to know could be a fatal mistake. When you have not prepared ahead of time, you may ramble when answering interview questions, sometimes talking yourself right out of the job. Prepare for the interview by reading through the job posting, matching your skills with the position’s requirements and relating only that information.

Don’t be too familiar

The interview is a professional meeting to talk business. This is not about making a new friend. Your level of familiarity should mimic the interviewer’s demeanour. It is important to bring energy and enthusiasm to the interview and to ask questions, but do not overstep your place as a candidate looking for a job.

5.  Use appropriate language

It’s a given that you should use professional language during the interview. Be aware of any inappropriate slang words or references to age, race, religion, politics or sexual orientation — these topics could send you out the door very quickly.

6.  Don’t be cocky

Attitude plays a key role in your interview success. There is a fine balance between confidence, professionalism and modesty. Even if you’re putting on a performance to demonstrate your ability, overconfidence is as bad, if not worse, as being too reserved.

7.  Take care to answer the questions

When interviewers ask for an example of a time when you did something, they are asking behavioural interview questions, which are designed to elicit a sample of your past behaviour. If you fail to relate a specific example, you not only don’t answer the question, but you also miss an opportunity to prove your ability and talk about your skills.

Hint: use the SAR method – Situation Action Result. Describe the situation, what action you took and the results. And do not take longer than 2 minutes to answer!

8.  Ask questions

When asked if they have any questions, most answer, “No.”  Wrong answer! Part of knowing how to interview is being ready to ask questions that demonstrate an interest in what goes on in the company. Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. The best questions come from listening to what you’re asked during the interview and asking for additional information.

Hint: research the industry and company – read their annual reports or investor presentations as well as general internet search. If possible, try networking with someone who knows the company well to gain a deeper understanding of their business, values and culture.

9.  Don’t appear desperate

When you interview with the “please, please hire me” approach, you appear desperate and less confident. Reflect the three Cs during the interview: cool, calm and confident. You know you can do the job so make sure the interviewer believes you can, too.

10.  And finally

Remember, interview questions generally take three forms: experience (or competency based questions), hypothetical questions, and personal awareness questions. Be prepared for all three forms to be mixed up and asked of you during the interview process.

It’s Your Life.  It’s Your Career. You Own It.

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