Interview Techniques To Come Across Well
The first thing you should recognise about interviews and the techniques you can adopt which can often lead to turning an interview into a job offer is that there is no ‘one size fits all solution’. For example, the type of personality you’d need to be able to demonstrate for the position of, say, a field sales executive where the interviewer will be looking for evidence of your ability to come across as outgoing, sociable, persuasive etc. is not going to work as effectively if you were going for an interview to work as a librarian, for example. Of course, there are many industries in which you’ll find people with totally different personalities all working within the same field. Therefore, the most important thing is to come across as ‘natural’ if you’re to stand any chance of being successful.
So many people come unstuck at interviews because they try too hard to appear to be something or somebody they’re not and a good interviewer will spot that a mile off. Nevertheless, there are certain techniques you can adopt and things you should demonstrate which are pretty common to most interviews and which are likely to leave the interviewer with a good impression of you.
Take Your Cue From The InterviewerWhen you enter the room and come face to face with the interviewer for the first time, smile and offer them a handshake and greeting. This will serve two purposes. You’ll come across as confident and as approachable which are two important qualities any interviewer will be looking for. However, after you’ve been welcomed and invited to sit down, you should then take your cues from the interviewer’s own style and personality. In other words, if they are quite formal, adopt an equally formal, yet still friendly approach to the interview. If, on the other hand, the interviewer is quite relaxed and not particularly fussed about formalities, you can feel more at ease too. However, although this is likely to put you in a calmer state of mind, it’s careful that you don’t let your guard drop too much. It’s fine to laugh if the interviewer injects some humour into the proceedings but always remember that this is a job interview after all and you should still come across as professional. Whatever style you’re faced with however, be aware of your body language and posture and maintain good eye contact throughout.
Demonstrating Your Skills And QualitiesMore formal interviews can sometimes turn into straightforward question and answer sessions which, in spite of the fact that they can seem more intense and less natural, are quite often the easiest style of interview in that you can have already ‘rehearsed’ certain answers which fully demonstrates your skills and personal qualities that are relevant to the type of job you’re going for and the questions being posed.
With a more relaxed and informal approach, however, whilst it may turn out to resemble more of a style you’d associate with a general conversation with both sides asking questions and exchanging views, it’s nevertheless crucial that you still keep at the front of your mind the need to keep the conversation on track and to demonstrate the skills and personal qualities you know the interviewer is looking for when it comes down to choosing the right person or people for the job. Therefore, you may want to ensure that you demonstrate and give good examples where you have shown initiative, leadership, trustworthiness, responsibility etc.
In fact, one of the best ways to ensure that you include all of the things the interviewer is looking for is to memorise the job advert which is likely to contain all of the assets the company is looking for in terms of the skills and personal qualities they’re seeking in the successful applicant. It’s also leaves a good impression if you’ve done some research about the company and can demonstrate this when you’re asked if you’ve any questions at the end.
The Dreaded "Strengths and Weaknesses" QuestionMost interviewees will tell you that the thing they dread most about an interview is the question “What are your weaknesses?” and it’s a question that many interviewers will use just to put you on the spot a bit and to get you to ‘think on your feet’. Obviously, the whole point about interviews is to give a good account of yourself so the simple technique for dealing with this question is to pick on a ‘weakness’ and then turn it around so that it could be perceived as an additional strength. A good example would be where you might say, “I sometimes find it difficult to switch off and to come away from a project or issue until I’ve resolved it.” In other words, whilst acknowledging that as a weakness, it also demonstrates determination, resilience and a commitment to solving a particular problem which are three great examples of strengths.
There is no one definitive answer as to how you should approach an interview and much will depend on the style and personality of the interviewer. The most important thing, however, is to make sure you get your points across that show you in a good light and above else, BE YOURSELF.
An often quoted comment that interviewers make is that they’re looking at whether or not they could envisage you fitting in to their existing set up and if they feel you would ‘fit in’ with the rest of the staff then you’re almost three quarters of the way there as they’ll tell you that you can always be taught any skills you might need to do the job but even the most qualified person for the job cannot be taught how to ‘fit in’. And, if you come away from the interview feeling like you didn’t like or have anything in common with the interviewer and subsequently fail to land the job, the chances are you wouldn’t have fitted in and so wouldn’t have enjoyed the job anyway.