Techniques for Interviewing Effectively

Interviews must be approached with the respect they deserve. Proper preparation can be the difference between landing the job and a never-ending series of interviews. Yet, at the same time, you should never lose sight that interviewers are people with flaws, biases, and most likely a wealth of experience in the field you’re applying for that can’t be lumped into a single preparation.

Interviewers want to be impressed and feel confident in the person they hire. Often times, they feel the same pressure you feel to get hired in their desire to make a good hire. You need to be able to match and overcome their expectations. The easiest and quickest way to inspire confidence is through the intangible effects of body language.

Body Language

Once you’ve met your interviewer, careful, the first minute and a half are the most essential. 33% of surveyed bosses stated that they know within that time if they are going to hire someone. The ability to make a good first impression then becomes one of the most powerful tools in securing employment. Before you head in to the interviewer, be absolutely sure that you’ve got yourself together. Know that your tie is in place, your shirt is tucked in, and your skirt without crimples.

Walk in with your head held high. Posture is a definite marker of confidence. Even if you slouch in your private life, walk in tall, say hello with a firm handshake and a friendly smile that doesn’t linger too long. Once you’re in your seat, sit up straight and lean forward slightly to show your interest.

After these initial moments, the next stages of the interview can betray your inner state. Don’t fidget. Bouncing your legs, playing with your hair, or touching your face, all display nervousness. You can maintain an interested expression and show that you’re invested in the conversation with positive nods and eye contact.

When the interview is over ask about the next steps in the selection process, thank them, and without rushing towards the door make your exit.

This may all sound easy, but in the stress of the moment, it’s a lot to keep in mind and may take several interviews to really perfect. For this very reason it’s important to take as many interviews as your offered to both keep your options open, and to get a handle on managing yourself. Practice makes perfect.

Telling Stories

Prolonged time spent in a field shapes a person’s outlook. It can alter an interviewer’s fundamental interpretations of the world and change how they perceive the people around them. The way you come across telling stories is a golden opportunity to show an interviewer that you understand their world and belong in it.

The first rule of storytelling is show don’t tell. When asked about your strengths, for example, instead of telling them about how you’re great a multitasking, choose examples that show how you have managed to handle multiple problems at the same time. Highlight areas in which you excel and others won’t.

Stories are an efficient way to separate yourself from other candidates. Take some time, before you head into an interview, to create impressive answers to some of the more common questions that may come up during interviews. Why you want to work for a company, why you left your last job, or simply talking about yourself are standard questions.

Finally, be sure to tailor your stories to the field in which you’re applying. If you’re applying for a job in the social services you might choose to show your empathy, yet, if you’re interviewing for a more cutthroat business position you might wish to highlight your strength and acumen. Even if you don’t know a field very well, twenty minutes on Google can provide invaluable insight.

The Interviewer

Some interviewers like to simulate the inevitable difficulties of a field by adopting irritating tactics to weed out candidates who aren’t ready to thrive. Never enter into an interview expecting a straight forward conversation in which you are walked through all of your best qualities. Though it’s certainly possible, be prepared to adopt your own set of counter measures that direct the conversation into your favor.

A great example of this is shown in The Pursuit of Happyness when after rushing into an interview wearing a spring jacket, a sleeveless shirt, and jeans. The interviewer asks, “What would you say, if a guy walked into an interview without a shirt on, and I hired him?” and Chris, the protagonist, answers, “He must have of had on some really nice pants.” He effectively turns weakness into strength and displays his ability to think on his feet. If asked a difficult question that doesn’t seem appropriate for the setting, it’s meant to keep you off balance. It isn’t necessary to come up with the perfect answer, but a quick and clever solution.