Four Strategies For Interview Success. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from Laura Autumn Cox of Toastmasters International. Laura will share four strategies for interview success. The word ‘interview’ can make even a confident person feel some anxiety. According to recent research, a whopping 93% of interview candidates experience interview anxiety. So, what can you do to ease the nerves and prepare yourself?
Four Strategies For Interview Success
The word ‘interview’ can push any relatively confident person into an anxious mess. According to recent research, a whopping 93% of interview candidates experience interview anxiety at some point in their career. This is hardly surprising. There’s nothing quite as nerve-wracking as walking into a room or joining a video call where you – and all of your potential slip-ups – are the main focus. I’ve certainly been there, and I am sure you have too.
Having an interview for a job is almost like going on a blind date, except the person you’re meeting already knows all about you. You’re putting yourself on the line; opening yourself up to rejection as well as success.
In the highly competitive employment market, reaching the interview stage is a strong indicator that your qualifications, experience, and knowledge tick the boxes. The interview is certainly about verifying your capabilities, but what it’s really about is giving the interviewer a chance to get to know you, to work out if you’re a good fit for their team. It’s also about working out if they are a good fit for you.
An interview, at its core, is a conversation. It’s a speaking exercise. My last job interview was for a role that I’d wanted for years. After an inevitable period of fretting, I made a decision. I decided to treat the interview like a chat – because that’s what it was. I was totally myself, and totally honest. It worked.
To build rapport with your interviewer and nail this all-important stage, try out these four key strategies.
Humanise Your Interviewer
Start by humanising your interviewer. They are a human being – someone who is making a decision that will impact your life, but also someone with worries, concerns, and joys, and who probably wants you to like them too. They may even be nervous themselves.
With that in mind, it’s even more important to think of a job interview as a conversation, rather than an interrogation. Having compassion for the person who interviews you will remind you that they have their flaws and vulnerabilities too. This, in turn will help you to relax, take your time, and be your authentic self – while also doing the same for them.
You need to be prepared for your interview. At the very least, you want to have a clear idea of what the organisation you’re applying to join does, and its current focus and goals. But over-preparation can be problematic. Remember to see your interview as a conversation. If you treat it like a performance, what happens when you forget your lines? If you’re honest and authentic, you won’t need a script.
It’s great to be confident, but if you claim to be absolutely brilliant at X then you need to back it up with an example. Give genuine evidence of where you’ve modelled the behaviours they want to see, and if you don’t have an example, think about how you would apply the given behaviour in an imagined scenario.
If you get the job, or the promotion, you’re likely to interact with your interviewers again. They may even become your direct manager. People are sensitive to façades. They will recognise if you’re putting on an act, and it won’t endear them to you. So be yourself, from start to finish.
Leverage Active Listening
Interviews appear to be all about talking, so you might be wondering where the listening part comes in. Consider the key facets of active listening: open body language, eye contact, responsiveness. You exhibit these behaviours when you’re talking to a friend or a loved one because you’re genuinely engaged with what they have to say. These golden rules also apply in interviews, whether you’re listening or replying to a question.
Let your interviewer see that you’re engaging with them by maintaining eye contact, allowing them time to speak, and giving visual clues like nods. Actions speak louder than words, and it’s no use being a brilliant speaker if you’re staring at your feet.
A common piece of interview advice is to ask questions. This doesn’t mean you need to walk in with a prepared list, although that can be helpful. A better way to frame it is to cultivate curiosity.
At the end of the interview, your interviewer may ask if you have any questions, but this isn’t a given and can quickly become mechanical. So, where appropriate, weave in questions throughout the interview to encourage conversation. The above three strategies will help with this. Is there a project you’re really excited about that you know the company is working on? If you’re attending in person, did you see something that interested you as you walked into the company’s building? Make the best impression possible while using the interview as an opportunity to test the water. It’s as much an opportunity for you as it is for them. You can clarify hours, wage, and other contractual details once you’ve got the job.
It’s important to remember that interviews are highly subjective. Even if you’re the most charismatic, charming, and personable candidate, there is always a chance that you and your interviewers might not click. By framing the interview as an authentic, engaging conversation with another human being – rather than some sort of inquisitorial ordeal – you will build rapport and establish a solid relationship that stands you in good stead for what hopefully becomes your future role.
I hope you enjoyed that.
About The Author
Laura Autumn Cox is a member of Toastmasters International, a not-for-profit organisation that has provided communication and leadership skills since 1924 through a worldwide network of clubs. There are more than 400 clubs and 10,000 members in the UK and Ireland. Members follow a structured educational programme to gain skills and confidence in public and impromptu speaking, chairing meetings and time management.
To find your nearest club, visit www.toastmasters.org
That sounds like good advice. I interviewed people for years. It is important to know a little about the company you want to join and make plenty of eye contact.
I haven’t done an interview in years. These are awesome tips!
Nnniiccceeee…I love the idea of keeping the interviewer as human as possible. That way, expectations are lowered on all sides.
These are great things to consider to succeed. I will keep these in mind when I have to do an interview!
The thought of an interview with a kid, not fun. Hoping to keep doing what I am.
This is a very helpful guide for those who are having interviews for the first time. It can be nervewracking but just remember to show authenticity.
Authenticity is the best. Show your true self and enthusiasm in interviews, and you shall do fine.
This is solid advice. I appreciate the authentic portion. As someone who does a lot of interviews- I appreciate authenticity on both ends of the interview.
This is great! I was looking for strategies for my son as he is graduating high school, and he’s going straight into the workforce. I’m sending this along to him.