How to Improve Your Interview Skills

No Author. 4 min read
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A job interview can be the most nerve-wracking experience of your professional life. However, while you may never think of them as an enjoyable way to spend your time, it is absolutely possible to remove some of the stress by improving your interview skills. 

Which Are the Most Important Interview Skills?

Clearly, there are lots of interview skills that can dramatically improve your chances of landing the job. Some of those skills will naturally vary depending on the type of role for which you are applying. However, here are three of the most important general interview skills: 

1. Considering Your Response 

The ability to plan a considered response to an interview question is extremely valuable. In the pressure cooker environment of an interview, it is all too easy to rush your response and fail to get your point across effectively or miss some of your key talking points.
Of course, no one wants to spend 30 seconds sitting in silence thinking about what to say, but it is possible to buy yourself some valuable time using tactics like:
  • Repeating the question back 
  • Rephrasing the question to make it clear you understand what is being asked
  • Using phrases such as, “That’s an interesting question” 

2. Communicating Calmly & Clearly 

In a similar vein, being able to speak calmly and clearly in high-pressure situations is a beneficial interview skill.  
When under pressure, it often feels natural to talk as quickly as possible in a bid to communicate as much information as you can, but this makes you appear stressed and flustered, and also harder to understand. Remember to breathe and slow down. 

3. Listening Actively

In an interview, your mind can easily wander. You might start trying to anticipate the next question or scrutinize your last answer. But this can hamper your performance further by preventing you from listening properly. 
Developing your listening skills will help you stay in the moment and fully understand what the interviewer is asking you, which in turn will help you give better answers.

Tactics to Develop Your Interview Skills

If you are serious about improving your performance in interviews, you should devote some time to developing your interview skills using these four tactics: 

1. Practice, Practice, Practice

Obvious as it might sound, one of the best ways to get better at interviews is to practice as much as possible. Go over potential questions and consider different ways to answer them. The more interviews you attend, the more likely you are to get better at them, which makes it easier to deal with all the associated stress. 

2. Consider Your Interviewer’s Point of View

It is easy to forget that your interviewer is not the antagonist of your personal story; you will fare much better if you strive to work with them and get them on your side. After all, they are under pressure too. They may have spent weeks or months looking for the right candidate. If they put your name forward, they are taking a chance on you. 

3. Prepare Solid Examples

Rather than speaking in platitudes, you should always aim to back up your words with actual examples from your professional and personal lives. Instead of telling the interviewer you are a great people manager, tell them about a time you helped turn a struggling employee into a top performer. Be sure to plan these examples in advance, as coming up with them in the heat of the moment can be difficult. 

4. Plan What You Want to Ask Your Interviewer

Everyone knows there will be a point in the interview at which they are asked: “Do you have any questions for us?”
It is often tempting to ask about purely logistical matters, such as what the first day on the job would look like. Instead, focus on the bigger picture by asking questions tied to the challenges and goals of the job. For instance, you might ask: “If you give me the job, how will you assess if you made the right decision in six months’ time?”
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