Four Strategies to Improve Your Interview Skills

May 29th, 2015

Your last interview felt promising…but despite your high hopes, you were politely turned away a few days later. The one before that led to the same outcome. And before that, you attended an interview and never heard from the employers again. What’s going on?

It’s possible that you’re just having a run of unfortunate luck; after all, nobody promised you that the job search would be easy. But it’s also possible that you aren’t taking full advantage of the moment and you aren’t quite doing everything in your power to convey confidence, competence, and readiness for the job at hand. Here are a few adjustments that can help you get your message across.

Stop slumping.

“Slumping” isn’t just a matter of poor, slouchy posture. This term includes the entire message that you send with a chair slouch: you’d rather not be here. You’re uncomfortable. You’re intimidated by the interviewer and you want to go home. Stop sending this message. If you want this job, sit up straight, look your interviewer in the eye, and have an adult conversation. If you don’t, call and cancel the interview before it begins. Take the wheel and steer your own destiny.

Ask more questions.

No matter how many questions you’re asking during your interview sessions, ask a few more. And don’t save them for the final stretch of the meeting when the interviewer turns the tables; ask them at every turn. Keep in mind that your time and your talents are valuable, and make sure this job is the right one for you before you commit yourself.

Steer clear of perfectionism.

Too many of us misuse this term and confuse “perfectionists” with “perfect people”. But here’s the truth: there are no perfect people, and perfectionism (any sign of it) can be highly toxic to your job search. Contrary to what you might believe, most employers run away from candidates who show hints of this disastrous trait. “Perfectionism” means brittle egos, fear of risk, slow growth, reluctance to learn new things, personal paralysis, and stagnation. When you’re asked to describe a mistake or failure from you past, step up to the plate and tell your story. Tell it proudly. Never, ever answer by saying “I’ve never made a mistake” or “I’ve never experienced failure.”

Be genuine.

Don’t hide your true personality. Let it shine. There are two reasons to do this: first, most job candidates are not professional actors, and if you plaster on a fake persona, your interviewer will recognize what you’re trying to do. The result will confuse and upset both of you. Second, there’s nothing wrong with you. Whatever quality you’re trying to hide, it’s not as damaging or weird as you think it is. You’re a smart, competent person, and you’re allowed to be here. If you accept that fact and move past it, your interviewer will follow your lead.

For more on how to clear away the obstacles in your path and ace your next interview, reach out to the professional staffing team at PSU.

 

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