10 Tips To Help You Improve Your Interviewing Skills
A job interview is your opportunity to highlight your strengths and show an employer why you are the best candidate for the position where you are applying. While you will likely be discussing your experience and technical skills during the interview, your interviewing skills will also highlight your soft skills. This means it is important to ensure you maximize your interviewing skills.
In this article, we provide you with great tips to help you improve your interviewing skills and stand out as the best candidate during your interview.
What are interviewing skills?
Interviewing skills are a set of interpersonal skills that allow you to interact comfortably with the interviewer and show them why you are the best candidate for the position you are applying for. Interviewing skills are the set of skills that help you highlight your best hiring features in every aspect the interviewer is paying attention to.
During the interview, the interviewer will pay attention to more than what your answers are to each question. They will also be looking for how comfortable and confident you are, how well you communicate, what your body language is saying, how you portray yourself and how you will fit into their work environment.
Examples of interviewing skills
An interview provides you with an opportunity to show the interviewer the soft skills you have that will make you a valuable asset to their company. Here are a few examples of skills you can use during an interview:
Verbal communication: Throughout the interview, the interviewer will pay attention not only to the things you say but also to how you say them. Verbal communication includes the pitch and tone of your voice, speaking clearly and concisely, being honest and polite and using active listening to respond appropriately.
Nonverbal communication: The interviewer will also pay close attention to your nonverbal communication skills throughout the interview. Nonverbal communication is what your body language tells someone during a conversation. Nonverbal communication includes eye contact, posture, facial expressions and gestures.
Time management: Time management skills include the ability to plan, prepare and organize your time to work efficiently and productively. You can show your time management skills during an interview by arriving to the interview on time and being aware of how much time you spend answering each question.
Confidence: Self-confidence is important during an interview because it helps make the interviewer feel more confident about your skills, experience and knowledge.
How to improve interviewing skills
How you deliver on the interview starts long before you walk in the front door. Being prepared beforehand is important and is having a cheery and professional outlook. Here are several tips you can start using to improve your interviewing skills:
Know how to use the job description.
Research the company.
Review your resume.
Prepare your clothing in advance.
Practice for the interview.
Prepare questions for the interviewer.
Perform an informational interview.
Be observant and listen closely to the interviewer.
Know how to respond when you need time to think.
Be polite to everyone you meet.
1. Know how to use the job description
The first step in improving your interviewing skills is to know how to use the job description when preparing for an interview. The job description provides valuable information about the types of skills and characteristics the employer is looking for in a qualified candidate. It also tells you the duties and responsibilities of the position.
You can use this information to prepare mock-interview questions that are geared toward the skills and experiences the employer is looking for. You can also use it as a checklist to think about specific experiences and examples to use in your answers.
2. Research the company
Next, you should try to gather as much information as possible about the company you are interviewing with before the interview. The more you know about the company, the better you will be able to answer questions in a manner that shows you are a good fit for their culture. This research can also help you ensure the company is a good fit for you.
You should try to learn things such as what the company's mission and vision statements are, what its values are, how the company is different from its competitors and what the company culture is like. You can usually gather this information from the company's website, social media pages and online reviews.
3. Review your resume
Next, you should review your resume and ensure it highlights the skills and strengths that make you the best candidate for the position you are applying for based on the information you gathered from the job description and your research about the company. You should also make sure the information in your resume is accurate and that you know the important facts in your resume well so you can refer back to it during the interview.
4. Prepare your clothing in advance
Next, you should try to choose what you will wear to the interview. Preparing what you wear before the day of your interview will give you enough time to ensure that everything is in order for your appearance. Try on your clothing for fit and determine if purchasing something new is in order. Perhaps you'll decide upon needing accessories such as a belt, tie or stockings for a cleaner, composed look and will have time to put that together beforehand. Getting this together beforehand will prevent last-minute wardrobe mishaps. It will also save you precious time on the day of your interview.
5. Practice for the interview
One of the best ways to improve your interviewing skills is to practice for the interview beforehand. Practicing for an interview can include several things such as working on your body language and nonverbal communication skills, wearing your interview outfit to ensure you are comfortable in it and answering questions you expect the interviewer to ask out loud to a friend, on-camera or in the mirror. The more you practice before your interview, the more comfortable and confident you will appear during your interview.
Related: How To Prepare for a Mock Interview
6. Prepare questions for the interviewer
At some point during your interview, usually toward the end, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. You should always try to have at least a few questions prepared to ask the interviewer. However, it is important to make sure the questions you plan to ask do not have answers that can be easily found online with thorough research. You should try to ask questions about the company, the specific position you are applying for or any details you would like more information about.
7. Perform an informational interview
Next, you may want to consider finding someone to interview who works at the company or in the industry of interest. An informational interview allows you to expand your professional network and gather valuable insight about a specific company's culture or industry tips that can help you stand out as a better candidate during a job interview.
You can find and reach out to industry and company insiders on social media. Make sure you disclose the fact that you have applied or are interviewing for a position with their company when asking for an informational interview. Once they agree to meet, you can ask questions about how they got their start in the industry, what skills they think are most important to being successful in the role and what qualities the company looks for in new hires.
8. Be observant and listen closely to the interviewer
It is important to remain attentive to what the interviewer is saying throughout the interview. You should try to pay close attention to everything the interviewer says to ensure you can answer each question appropriately. Try not to allow things going on around you to distract you from the conversation with the interviewer.
In addition to listening closely to the questions they ask, try to focus on how they respond to the answers you give to each question. You might be able to learn new information that will help you provide better answers to questions they ask you later in the interview. Doing this will show the interviewer you are interested in what they are saying and prove your ability to pay attention to detail.
9. Know how to respond when you need time to think
During your interview, the interviewer might ask you a question you don't immediately have an answer for. It is important to know how to respond when this happens. It is ok to take a minute to think about your answer, just let the interviewer know that it's a great question and you need a minute to think about your answer. Doing this will show the interviewer you can respond calmly when faced with a challenge and will also highlight your problem-solving skills.
10. Be polite to everyone you meet
In addition to the person who is performing your interview, you may meet several other people throughout the company during your interview. For example, you may be greeted by a receptionist or secretary, be escorted to the interview room by someone from human resources, interview with one or several supervisors or managers and see other employees as you are walking through the company. It is important to be friendly and courteous to everyone you meet because this will show the interviewer how well you will fit into the company's culture.
Nonverbal communication is one of many tools that can help you make a good impression in interviews and in your professional life. However, candidate assessments should be based on skills and qualifications, and workplaces should strive to be inclusive and understanding of individual differences in communication styles.
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