Employers say that communication skills are the number one skill they look for in hiring a new employee. To get to the next level in your career you need more than a great resume, you need to be able to give a dynamic interview. An interview is not just about going through your resume. I have helped many people who were not even getting second interviews land their dream jobs. Don’t use your interviews to practice your skills- use your interviews to GET the JOB!
We’ve all had many job interviews over the span of our careers. One of the great mysteries of life is why they choose someone else for the job and not us. Often we think we gave a great interview, had nice rapport, have the resume to back it up and yet we don’t get the job. We get vague feedback that keeps us guessing even more. It’s time to stop guessing, learn some skills and GET the JOB.
Of course you’re going to be nervous in an interview. In any communication there is you, the message and the audience. When you focus on yourself you make yourself more nervous When you focus on what you’re saying and trying to give the “right” answers you can get lost in the message, like in a spiderweb. You should have most of your focus, at least 85% to 90% on the interviewer. It’s really all about them and making sure they not only get your point but they get a sense of who you are. An interview should be a conversation, not an interrogation. People like to work with and be with people that make them feel comfortable and are similar to themselves.
2-3 Assets and Skills
Figure out the top 2 or 3 skills or assets that make you unique and attractive to this employer. You need to get that information out as soon as possible in the interview. Let’s say that you have international experience and that is an asset for this job. You should let them know that at the beginning of the interview. It can be the answer to any number of questions such as: tell me something about yourself, what are your strengths, what will you bring to this job, why should we hire you, etc. A job interview is like speed dating or a networking event. They are making decisions on whether they want to continue talking to you right from the start. You need to tell them the most important information up front. Don’t wait for them to ask you and don’t wait to tell them until the end. They may have already made a decision by then. If you don’t like the first few paragraphs of a book you may not continue. That’s the same way with an interview.
For every one of your top 2-3 skills or assets you want to have a story that illustrates that skill. Stories are very powerful and often people don’t think they are necessary or they are fluff. Stories are how we remember. We remember first visuals, then emotions and last words. So when you tell a story about yourself we retain it in our brain three times longer then if you just regurgitate your resume. Also you can say things in a story that illustrate traits you have that you would not say directly. A story can illustrate how you are a strategic thinker, compassionate, creative, a good manager, etc. Learn how to tell a compelling and memorable story. I have had many clients say the reason they got hired was because of an illustrative and engaging story.
Anticipate Questions and Rehearse Answers
Anticipate the questions that they will ask you. What are some general questions and some industry specific questions they are likely to ask you?
And then rehearse out loud your answers to these questions. You need to hear what you sound like. We are all brilliant in our minds but then we open our mouth’s and sometimes we don’t sound as brilliant. So you need to have rehearsed your answers at least 3 to 5 times out loud. You would rehearse a presentation out loud so why wouldn’t you rehearse something as important as a job interview out loud? Videotaping yourself is helpful also.
You are already qualified or you wouldn’t be having the interview in the first place. They don’t want a verbal recap of your resume, they have already read it. They want to get to know you, not just your experience. Use these tips so you can use your interview to GET the JOB!