When I say “interview skills” I’m not just talking about answering different types of questions and handling yourself during interviews. It’s about that extra special something that helps you stand out in an interview from the rest of the well-practiced, well-prepared candidates. And helps you connect to that person on the other side of the table — as well as to their image of the “right” candidate.
Basically, you want to connect the dots for them, rather than letting them simply read between the lines … er dots. Leaving this totally to the interviewer and assuming they’ll get who you are is a risky choice. So make it your job in an interview to help them see how something you did or know or can do connects well to THIS job and company.
The art of interview skills
The main “hire me” interview dots you want to help connect to give them a full picture of you and how you meet THEIR needs are: your work skills, your personality (including attitude toward work), any extras you bring to the job, and your overall fit with the job and company.
So, as best as you can, try to get very comfortable with these five techniques and bring them into your interview:
- Have strong success / accomplishment stories ready to draw from. And, in context of what is being asked or discussed, pick a good example to help make your case.
- Borrow from NLP mirroring techniques to help create a feeling of connection / bonding. Not that I’m suggesting you apply these too obviously, but gently matching some of their energy, posture, gestures, etc. can help them feel more connected to you.
- Find people / things you have in common. BUT … introduce carefully and watch for any signs of discomfort. If they lean in toward you (especially with a smile or eyes lighting up), probably something good to pursue.
- Listen fully engaged with / immersed in the words of the interviewer — and not thinking about your last or next answer. Or anything else like “I’m blowing it.” You want to hear what they’re asking for, but also interviewers can sense when you are not fully connecting to them.
- Bring a “first time” energy into the room — an everything is new and interesting mindset. This is not a time to low-key it. Not that you want to be bouncing off walls (especially if interviewer is fairly layback — see NLP section above), but positive energy will actually help the interviewer’s energy too, which feeds right back to how they feel about you.
NOTE: Energy — especially positive, enlivened by the actual experience energy — breeds more energy. And that is not only good for the actual interview, but for the impressions / memorable ripples you leave behind. Interviewers often view your interview as an indication of what you’d be like as an employee on a day-to-day basis, with some room made for interview nerves.
A few more thoughts
Each interview is different. As is each interviewer. So interview skills that work for some may not work for everyone. You need to try your best to get a feel for who the person is and if what you’re doing is connecting.
Most of all, no matter what advice you read here or on other sites, find what works for you. Being comfortable and natural in an interview is often your best “secret weapon” for landing a job. So take what you read with a grain of salt. And then adapt it to fit you and the job.
And please always be networking!
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