14 Tips To Improve Your Interview Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

October 20, 2021

After submitting a resume, the interview is your next chance to discuss your qualifications and impress an employer. Strong interview skills allow you to showcase your achievements and potential while avoiding unnecessary stress. Developing these skills is an investment of your professional time and energy and can be beneficial for any job candidate. In this article, we review a list of tips for improving your interview skills.

Related: Practicing for a Job Interview

14 tips for improving interview skills

Here are 14 tips to help you interview successfully and improve your chances of getting the job:

1. Research the employer

Once you're invited to interview, your first task is to understand who the employer is and your reasons for wanting to work for them. Conduct research that helps you understand these considerations where applicable:

  • History of the company

  • Size of company

  • Industry and clientele

  • Primary goods or services offered

  • Recent developments in the company

  • Growth strategy

  • Company leaders and their backgrounds

The interviewer might not quiz you on these topics, but you can align your answers with the company's values, business model and aspirations. Ultimately, you're a candidate to help the employer get where it wants to go.

2. Study the job title

Research the general expectations for a job title and consider how your work experience has prepared you to meet them. However, it's important to remember that employers may define the same job title differently. Try to find information about how your possible employer structures its positions by reviewing job descriptions or online company reviews.

Related: A Guide To Acing the Interview

3. Arrive early

Plan extra time for travel to your interview. If there is traffic or any other interference, you can remain calm and know you are going to be on time. Arriving relaxed allows you to speak calmly, think clearly and perform better throughout an interview.

4. Come prepared

Preparing yourself for an interview shows you understand professional work habits, an important first impression for any employer. Coming prepared for an interview means having:

  • The right attire: Candidates usually dress up more for interviews than employees do daily. Research the company's dress code culture and plan accordingly.

  • Copies of resume: Always bring a few extra copies of your resume and protect them in a folder. This shows you value your professional materials and prepare for meetings diligently.

  • A pen and paper: In some interviews, it might be appropriate to take notes. Be able to do so promptly and independently.

Some jobs might ask you to bring a portfolio or other samples of your work. You should present these materials with care by printing and formatting them professionally.

Related: Bringing Notes To an Interview: Should You Bring Notes To an Interview?

5. Be respectful toward everyone

Most people feel some nerves before a big interview, but be mindful of your energy upon entering a workplace. The receptionist or office administrator who you notify of your arrival likely has a relationship with the interviewer. The interviewer might value their impression of you, so take an extra moment to be courteous and friendly with each employee you encounter.

6. Mind your body language

For some jobs, how you carry yourself is important for client relationships and the image of a business. And even if you don't interact with clients, proper body language tells employers you are aware of your surroundings, care about your appearance, respect your colleagues and have the energy to work hard. Proper body language entails:

  • Sitting up straight

  • Making regular eye contact

  • Keeping arms and legs uncrossed

  • Avoiding fidgeting

7. Rehearse common questions

There are many questions interviewers might ask regardless of the job they're filling, such as:

  • "Can you tell me a little about yourself?"

  • "What are your strengths and weaknesses?"

  • "How have you handled difficult situations at previous jobs?"

  • "Why are you looking for a new position?"

  • "What salary did you have in mind?"

Common interview questions may provide your interviewer some important details about you, but they're also used to ensure you've done basic preparation for interviewing. Consider rehearsing responses with a friend or family member or writing out the important points you want to touch upon. Your goal isn't to memorize your answer but to feel comfortable responding when the interview takes place.

8. Practice job-specific questions

Most interviews combine general questions with job-specific ones. These questions might be highly technical and designed to make sure you are a qualified candidate. Research common interview questions for your industry and job title and make sure you're capable of providing thorough answers.

Related: Mastering the Interview: Coding Interview Questions

9. Apply the STAR interview method

If your interviewer asks about a difficult situation or challenge you faced at work, you can use the STAR response method to organize your thoughts. STAR stands for:

  • Situation: What events or conditions led to a problem or challenge?

  • Task: What was your responsibility or assignment?

  • Action: How did you approach your role to improve the situation?

  • Result: What was the outcome of your actions?

By structuring your answer with these steps, you can show that you are conscientious, work proactively and help organizations succeed. Ahead of meeting with an employer, think through a few professional experiences you could reference using this method.

10. Respond to interviewer

During interviews, it's easy to become focused on what you have to say, but try to listen carefully to your interviewer. Directly answer questions and acknowledge shared information by incorporating it into your responses. Your prospective employer likely values communication skills and an ability to take directions. Paying close attention helps your answers remain on topic and makes your interviewer feel heard and respected.

11. Control your pacing

During interviews, it's important you pace yourself so that your responses remain organized and easily understood. It's acceptable to pause briefly after an interviewer's question so that you can determine the best way to respond. A few seconds or one full breath can help you recall the important points you've prepared. Keep in mind that interviewers often allow you to determine when you're finished answering. This means it's important to focus only on relevant details so the interviewer can proceed with other questions.

12. Plan thoughtful questions

Toward the end, most interviewers ask if you have questions. To avoid having to think of one in the moment, prepare a few questions you have about the position or employer before the interview. Try to avoid questions easily answered by the job description or already addressed during your conversation. However, asking follow-up questions for greater detail, instead of repeated detail, can show you're curious about what the employer has shared with you. Thoughtful questions show you're taking the possibility of working for the company seriously and have considered how you might fit into the new role.

13. Say thank you

At the end of the interview, express your gratitude for the opportunity to speak with the employer. Most interviewers appreciate a simple thank-you note or email sent shortly after meeting. Mention one or two aspects of the conversation you found exciting or helpful and thank the interviewer for the consideration.

Related: Video Interview Guide: Tips for a Successful Interview

14. Review your own performance

A job search often means sitting for several interviews. After each, take some time to think about how the interview went. Note the responses you gave that felt successful and the ones you could improve upon for next time. Interview skills require time and practice to develop. By being aware of which questions to prepare further, you're more likely to provide your ideal answers in the future.

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