5 Interview Techniques that Actually Work

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Cyber Career Coach - Interview TechniquesWell, you got the call.  Your resume made the cut, and your interview is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.  Holy Cow!!! Tomorrow afternoon!!!  Okay, don’t freak out.  It’s just an interview.  Everything is going to be just fine.  If you follow these 5 interview techniques, I guarantee you’ll do just fine.

Dress and Appearance

This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised by some of the questionable wardrobe choices made by prospective employees.  First, flip-flops and a tank top are NEVER a good choice, unless you’re interviewing for a job with a surfboard manufacturer or a…

…You know what? Scratch that! flip-flops and a tank top are never a good idea.  PERIOD!

On the same note, anything you might consider cool, such as 2″ spacer earrings, eye-brow rings, or nose rings, may not be considered so awesome by whomever may be conducting the interview.

It’s important to consider the reality that not everyone appreciates body art and dreadlocks.   In business, its generally a good idea to tone it down a bit.

With that in mind, choose colors that represent professionalism.  Black and Grey almost always work.  Red, Blue, and Brown can work as well, but stay away from loud or multicolored items if possible.

For men, if you don’town a suit, choose basic slacks, a long-sleeve shirt with or without a tie, dress shoes, and a matching belt.  Women can follow this advice too, but can also where a skirt (not too short & not too long) and heels if desired, but don’t over do it with the accessories.

Knowledge of the Company

Find out as much as you can about the company you are about to interview with.   Google them, ask friends and colleagues.  Try to think of ways your skills could uniquely benefit them.

A popular interview question is “Why do you think we should hire you for this position?”  Detailed knowledge of the company can help you to formulate an answer to the above question that lets the interviewer see how hiring you would benefit the company, rather than simply rambling on about how great you are.

Trust me.  Companies are not hiring because they want to create jobs, they are hiring because they need what you have.  Tell them why what you have to offer will benefit them more than what others may have to offer.  Knowing a lot about what the company does will go a long way in helping you do just that.

Exhibit Confidence

#1:  Maintain eye contact!  This is vitally important.  Failure to maintain eye contact in an interview is the fastest way to get your name scratched from the list.  Think about it, when someone will not look you in the eye when answering questions, it seems like they’re being evasive or hiding something.  Maintaining eye contact is the best way to build trust!

#2:  Sit up straight!  Slouching makes you look lazy, and companies don’t hire lazy people on purpose.  Make a conscious effort not to hunch over or lean back.  Sit towards the front edge of the chair or couch.  When you do this, you look engaged which is always a good thing!

#3: Don’t talk too much!  This one is a little strange I suppose, but I have seen great potential candidates talk themselves right out of a job.  Answer questions as directly as possible.  Be polite.  Say yes or no rather than yeah or uh uh, and consider adding sir or ma’am to your vocabulary.  Its easy, respectful, and no one does it anymore.  That little tip alone could guarantee you the job.  Try not to ramble, and make a concerted effort to reduce the number of “um’s” in your speech pattern.

Avoid Common Mistakes

Lack of confidence.  If you’ve been called in for an interview, its most likely that your resume stated you had the requisite knowledge and experience they are looking for.  Provided your resume isn’t over embellished, you should be able to confidently discuss your experience in a way that demonstrates your capability. If necessary, try to think of interview question you might ask and practice answering them in front of a mirror.  In fact, you may consider doing that anyway.  A little practice is always a good idea.

Over confidence.  There is fine line between being knowledgeable and being a know-it-all!  No one likes a know-it-all.  Learn to portray confidence without appearing arrogant.  In other words, try to be humble about your accomplishments while sharing them with the interviewers.  Take credit for what you’ve done, but find a way to give credit to others.

Don’t trash your current or former employer.  If asked why you are leaving your current employer, be honest about your motivation, but don’t focus on the negative aspects of what may be driving your decision.  “I am seeking a position with greater opportunity for advancement which is not currently available to me in XYZ firm.” sounds much better than. “XYZ firm sucks!  They don’t recognize good talent, and they promote their buddies even if they’re unqualified.”  After all, they don’t want to be the next company you’re bad-mouthing in an interview!

Say Thank You

This is simple to do and only takes a minute.  Be sure and get name(s) of the interviewer(s), and as soon as possible after the interview has concluded and hand-write notes thanking them for the opportunity.  You can even do this in the lobby and drop them off with the receptionist for distribution before you leave.

Something as simple as expressing gratitude and taking the time to do it in writing can provide that little nudge that elevates you over the competition.

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