Interviews aren’t easy; they can be one of the most unnerving, challenging, and awkward environments you will ever find yourself in. But they’re not impossible either. EPIC Assist (EPIC) has prepared five helpful tips to nudge you on your way to honing your interview skills and scoring that job
Listening is one of the most important, but underrated, interview skills. It can be challenging to listen to the interviewer’s question whilst also mentally preparing an answer. Make sure to stay in the moment and don’t let yourself zone out. It’s easy to fall into a habit of smiling, nodding, and saying “Okay” or “Exactly.”
Think before you speak
For many people, as soon as they enter an interview their hands begin to shake and their speech becomes rushed and flustered, littered with a flurry of “Ums” and “Ahs.” Don’t feel obligated to fill every little breath of silence. Make a conscious effort to slow down your answers so that every one is clear, concise, and calm.
Express interest and optimism
Take a moment to recall all of those nonverbal communication skills you prepared before the interview and put them into practice: relax your shoulders, make eye contact, sit-up straight, smile, and nod thoughtfully. If your body appears open, you will express interest and portray a reasonable attitude.
Remember: this is an interview, not a therapy session. Don’t use the attention as an opportunity to complain about your former employer or personal circumstances. Above all, be confident, not arrogant.
Prepare well-thought-out answers
It is incredibly important to prepare before the interview. Research potential interview questions that are specific to the position or industry and prepare relevant examples. Don’t forget to familiarise yourself with your application – how did you pitch yourself? – and reanalyse the job description. These small steps can have a massive impact on ensuring your answers are consistent and speak to the employer’s needs.
There are many different approaches you can take when delivering your answers (for example, the STAR approach). No matter which method you choose, it is important to practice your delivery beforehand to smooth any gaps or rambles. Don’t be afraid to take notes with you into the interview.
For some employers, if the candidate doesn’t ask a question at the end of the interview it signals that they will not go beyond the bare minimum. Always be prepared to ask questions. Have a couple ready-to-go before the interview that show interest in what goes on in the company and how you will benefit their values.