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Job interview skills | Improvement tips and techniques

Effective Job Interviewing Skills

Tips & Techniques to improve your interview skills

The guys at Google sure knew how to make interviewees sweat. Some even called it downright sadistic but the tech giant went ahead anyway, and kept tossing hopeless brain-teasers at candidates interviewing for jobs at the company.

So, till a couple of years ago, candidates would be asked seemingly nonsense questions such as: ‘How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap?’ Or ‘How many piano tuners are there in the world?

In 2013, Google finally admitted that its brain-teasers were a complete waste of time in helping predict whether or not candidates would turn out to be suitable employees.

But Google’s question bank wasn’t all bunkum. While the moral implication of reducing interviewees to nervous wrecks is debatable, the company did have a point. It was assessing a mental ability that every company looks for in its staff, new or otherwise – the ability to navigate an analytical minefield.

But there’s much more to being a suitable candidate than having amazing analytical skills, even for Google. And that’s precisely why the job interview is all-important.

An interview is a focused exchange of information that gives you the opportunity to explain why you are the right match for the company and, more specifically, the job on offer.

In other words, it is your chance to explain why you are the best choice to meet the requirements of the company, and why they should hire you over the competition.

Remember this: you get only one chance to make a good first impression, and to make sure you don’t blow it, we’re going to discuss some effective job interview skills and techniques.

How To Improve Your Interview Skills

Just because you’ve been interviewed many times doesn’t mean you’re a pro. There are certain interview skills you can master to increase your chances of being hired.

How so? Well, if a carefully crafted resume and cover letter got you this far, now’s the time to master a few more tricks because, when a recruiter sits across the table from you, there’s a lot he or she can tell about you beyond your resume.

While you are earnestly elaborating on your hard skills, they are also sizing you up on your non-verbal cues, body language, demeanour, overall attitude and the way you present yourself.

Prospective employers use this information to assess whether you will be a good team player, manager material, whether you carry a positive approach to your work and whether you possess smart communication skills.

To help you with your interview preparation, here are some valuable interview tips that will stand you in good stead.

1. Do Your Homework

If you’re not a complete novice at this, you already know how important it is to do your homework. Research the overall industry, the company and the specific job vacancy. Tap into resources such as the company’s website, insiders you may know at the firm, or knowledgeable outsiders who can brief you on your prospective employer.

Accessing the company’s annual reports will help you better understand its business model, performance and vision. During your interview, you will be able to speak from a position of strength.

Read up more on the list of popular recruiting industries in India.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice!

It is imperative that you prepare your responses to some classic interview questions. You will almost always have to explain why you think you are best for the job and what value you can bring to the table; the role you played in previous places of employment; and why you would like to work for this specific employer.

Here’s another priceless interview tip: don’t be caught off-guard if you are asked whether you have any questions. Asking relevant questions demonstrates the interest you have in the company and tells the recruiter that you have been paying close attention to the interview process.

3. First Impressions

Answer the following question and you will know whether you’ve maxed the next interview tip: Did you have them at ‘hello’?

Like we said, recruiters begin judging you from the moment they lay eyes on you. Here are few tips to keep in mind.

  • A firm handshake before and after the interview is a must.
  • Sit naturally – comfortably yet not as if lounging.
  • Make sure your body language is positive and your mood upbeat – make eye contact, smile when relevant and don’t be afraid to let your personality show.
  • Speak clearly and answer questions concisely.
  • Don’t get chatty.
  • Never bad-mouth previous employers or talk about personal problems. These are instant deal-breakers.
  • And, yes, make sure you dress smart yet comfortable. It’s always better to be slightly overdressed than the other way around.

4. Selling Yourself

Alas, we live in times when form often matters more than substance. What we are saying is that the most qualified candidate does not necessarily get the job; the one who scores on the job interview itself is likely to.

It’s all about mastering job interview skills and techniques.

Think of the interview as a sales call, where you are the salesperson and what you are pitching is your ability to fulfill the employers’ requirements and improve the company’s performance.

5. Thank The Interviewer

As mentioned in earlier interview tips, being courteous goes a long way towards creating a favourable impression, especially in times when common courtesy is becoming less and less common!

Hence, thanking the interviewer at the end of the interview with a firm handshake and sending a ‘thank-you’ email soon after the interview may not get you the job but it will give you an edge over the other applicants.

Bonus Tips and Techniques for Interview Improvement

If you’re scouring the Internet for effective interview skills, here are a few off-beat but powerful tips that will help you score over the competition, simply because they will not be prepared for them.

Clean Up Your Social Media Timeline

A majority of employers now check your social media sites for red flags. So, even if your sites are free of profanity and other off-putting media, your posts will tell them a lot about you.

What’s ‘Your Story’?

When the employer says, ‘Tell me something about yourself’, chances are they are not interested in an autobiography.

Choose a short story that is succinct and includes relevant details about your skills and aspirations and, if possible, professional qualifications. This needs careful preparation and a hook to keep them rivetted.

The Googly

If your employer is smart – and they almost always are – they will toss you something like, ‘name one weakness you have?’ or ‘what do you need to work on?’ Choose a vulnerability that will not instantly disqualify you but one that makes you human. Then state how you have worked on it. It’s all about overcoming your weakness.

And, if you have the luxury of choosing your interview slot, Tuesday, 10.30 am is best. Although it’s easy to see why, we bet you didn’t think of it!

Back to the list of key skills.

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