Did you know that every corporate job opening solicits 250 resumes, and yet only five people on average will be asked to interview? Even then, only one person is chosen for the job. Experience, time in business and skills contribute greatly when you’re considered for a role. Even then, there’s only a 20 percent chance you’ll be hired for the job once interviewed. Improve your odds and help stay in the game by mastering these 10 interviewing skills:
1. Do Your Homework
Research the company, the industry and with whom you’ll be interviewing. A recent study stated 47 percent of interviewers said they would not offer a job to someone who had little knowledge of the company or industry. Do your best to study before you go. Understand the company’s jargon and needs, their history, leadership and competitors. This will help you ask pointed questions and demonstrate your desire to learn and understand. This can also provide an opportunity for you to have an open conversation about the type of person they need and what they define as success for the position.
2. Be Clear About Why You Want the Job
Even if you are seeking a new role for monetary reasons, added experience or a promotion, understand why you are seeking employment with that specific company. Know how that role will help you achieve your personal and professional goals, as well as help the company achieve theirs. Identify reasons that the industry and company intrigue you. When you know you’re pursuing the job for the right reasons, you’ll better ensure the right fit for you and the company.
3. Know Your Selling Points
There is a reason they requested an interview. You have a quality the employer is searching for, and you need to understand why. Before the interview, list your selling points in both experience and personality. Know what qualities make you uniquely qualified for the role. Be ready to demonstrate your history of working with others in a team and as an individual. Practice, and practice your list again, so you can confidently and clearly share.
4. Prepare Your Questions
Line up some intelligent questions that demonstrate your understanding of the company and your intent for the job. It’s likely the interviewer will ask if you have questions. By responding with “No” or “Not Really,” you demonstrate a lack of interest. Instead, consider asking how they would define the ideal candidate. You can also ask, “What do you think is best about working here?” Either way, having questions prepared will show interest and respect for their time.
5. Consider Yourself on the Same Team
Think of the company as a sports team. You want to be chosen to join the team, which means you must demonstrate your desire for their success. Don’t think of the interviewer as an adversary watching for mistakes but instead a teammate with whom you could accomplish great success. When you discuss the role, do so with a sense of partnership, acknowledging that you’re in it together.
6. Demonstrate Confidence and Humility
During an interview, maintain a balance between your confidence to do the job and your ability to learn and grow. You want the other person to see you as capable and experienced while also open-minded. Give credit where it’s due. Instead of talking about your own achievements, consider discussing how you and your team accomplished high-profile tasks. This demonstrates your ability to give credit where it’s due and shows how you successfully worked within a team.
7. Watch Your Body Language
Nonverbal messages and cues help others determine who we are and what we are trying to say. It’s hard for others to believe your humility when you are arrogantly leaning back in your chair. People won’t see you as confident and credible when you slouch, fail to make eye contact or speak quietly. The key to ensuring your body language matches your verbal message is to record yourself and watch the playback. So much of our body language is a habit that can be changed only when we acknowledge it. By watching a video of ourselves in meetings or during practice interviews, we can change our bad habits into something more positive.
8. To Err Is Human
No one is perfect, so don’t pretend you are. Be willing to discuss your faults and what needs to be improved. Often, interviewers will ask us to share what we believe to be our weakness. Instead of downplaying this trait, be honest in how you wish to improve. Be prepared to share examples of the weakness and how you’ve committed to seeking improvement.
9. Be Memorable
Interviews can be intimidating. As a result, people often become stiff and robotic in their exchanges with the interviewer. Remember that they are people, too, and they recognize how challenging the experience can be. Relate to them and be personable. Show warmth by smiling, making intentional eye contact and asking questions about them. Ask about the role they play with the company and how you will work together if hired.
10. End on a Positive Note
End the conversation by sharing appreciation for their time and attention. Let them know you were excited for the opportunity to interview and are more excited even now once the interview is complete. Verbally express your desire for the job and ask when you can expect a decision. Wish them luck in the process and be sincere in your hopes that they find the right fit for the role. Express gratitude for the opportunity and how you’ll be excited to hear back once they’ve reached a decision.
Candidates often get selected for a role based not only on their experience and skills, but on the way they made the interviewer feel throughout the experience. It’s up to you to show you’re right for the role and will be a good cultural fit for the team and the company.