Whether it’s your first interview or your tenth, there are always ways you can improve your interview skills. Interviews can be intimidating, and a lot of pressure may hang on them. However, with some preparation and forethought, you can take the stress out of your interviews and perhaps even have some fun. Here are seven stress-relieving interview tips.
Understand What You’re Communicating
A lot is said about verbal communication, but equally important is what you’re communicating with your body. Crossing your arms shows a defensive and disinterested posture. Even if this is normal for you, avoid it so that you aren’t giving the interviewer the wrong impression. Leaning in or sitting up straight shows interest in what the other person is saying. Practicing good posture is also a good idea. Not only does slouching look sloppy, if you allow your shoulders to slump it appears like you don’t have much confidence. If you don’t know what nonverbal habits you’ve fallen into, ask a friend to observe you and give feedback.
Don’t Dodge the Questions
Whether you mean to or not, not answering the interviewer’s questions completely or at all will seem like you’re trying to avoid the answer. Which maybe you are. Be familiar with the type of questions that come up during an interview. Practice what you might say to them. If you’re asked an uncomfortable question, like why you got fired from your last job, be direct in answering that. Avoiding it will make it seem like you have something to hide. With this type of question, if you phrase it positively and emphasize what you’ve learned and how you’ve changed, you can actually create a better impression.
Carefully Consider What You Want to Ask
In the same token, when you have the opportunity to ask questions, do so! Come with a few questions prepared. Just make sure they’re not easy, basic questions you could have found with a quick Google search. As the interview progresses, if you think of a question, keep that in mind. Asking questions in return shows that you’re engaged in the interview and are interested in the job.
Practice Active Listening
This is an important skill, but so many people miss the mark with it. You can show that you’re really interested in what the other person is saying by asking clarifying questions or nodding every now and then. Maintaining eye contact and considering your facial expression are also good ways of communicating this.
Watch Your Language
This isn’t your home and this person isn’t your friend. They may be eventually, but now is not the time to be overly familiar. Be careful how you talk and what words or phrases you use. Don’t reference outdated technology or overused buzzwords that will make you seem fake. Also, cursing should not show up at this interview. Your interview is about business, keep it that way.
Know the Company
You probably have sent in applications for several jobs and may have more than one interview. With that in mind, do some research on the company and the interviewer you’re meeting with. Brush up on that, so that you can tailor your responses to the job. You also want to make sure you don’t mix up this company with another one and offend your interviewer.
Finally, finish off your interview by thanking the other person. End on a high note in this way. Additionally, send a thank-you email or card to continue showing your interest in the job. This is good manners and is also a good way to follow up with the interviewer and keep yourself at the top of their mind.
Interviews don’t have to be high-stress and anxiety-inducing moments. By applying these tips, you’ll find yourself prepared and more relaxed for your interview.