by Alan De Back
With the start of the new year, many people decide that the time is right for a job change. Because the market is so crowded with job seekers, you need to distinguish yourself from the competition during the interview process. In addition to preparing for possible questions, how will you use all the skills in your communication toolbox? Here are four job interview tips that will give you an edge.
- Align verbal and non-verbal communication
Your non-verbal communication can either confirm your answers to interview questions or totally erase the meaning in your words. Everything from eye contact to posture can impact whether your words are believable. If your body language is inconsistent with your words, you lose credibility. A few tips:
- Maintain confident eye contact
- Keep your posture open (e.g. arms not crossed in front of you)
- Use gestures to emphasize important points
- Adjust voice and tone
You need to adjust your voice and tone to the interview situation. If your voice and tone don’t reflect the confidence to make your words believable, your answers to questions are unconvincing. The best answers in the world will be disregarded. Some tips about voice and tone:
- Practice raising volume if you are soft-spoken
- Avoid trail-off at end of sentences
- Prepare to use more inflection if you tend to be monotone
- Use concise and clear language
Your interviewer wants to get as much information as possible about you as quickly and efficiently as possible. Complex and difficult-to-understand answers to questions will not help you build a case for your candidacy. Both the actual words you use and the structure of your answers have impact. Some tips:
- Avoid acronyms and slang that may be unfamiliar to the interviewer
- Consider whether to use complex technical terms
- Structure your message in the active voice to make your message concise and clear
- Listen and focus
Although you will be talking a good deal as you answer interview questions, your ability to listen and focus on the interviewer is critical to your success. Active listening will ensure that you fully understand the questions you are asked. The ability to focus on what you are seeing and hearing will help you realistically assess whether the job and the environment are a good fit. Here are some tips:
- Do not interrupt the interviewer
- Listen carefully to pick up cues about what is important to the interviewer
- Focus on what you see and hear, and adjust your responses to questions accordingly
How can you be sure that your communication tools are supporting you during the interview process? Consider taking video of a practice interview and watch it with a critical eye. This is the best way to get real-time feedback as you prepare for the interview.
Heighten your awareness of the components of your communication package, and your answers to interview questions will have more impact!