Tips to improve your interview skills

At the young age of 20 I believed myself to possess excellent interview skills. I walked into my first interview confident that I will definitely bag the job. After a series of set questions, the interviewer asked me the last clincher “Where would you like to see yourself five years from now?”

“At the top of whatever field I am working in” I answered beaming at him proudly. While that sure was confidence to my young self, however, as I look back at it now, my matured thought processes would deem that as over confidence. Tackling interview questions requires the right balance of modesty, confidence and knowledge. Here are a few tips to help you improve your interview skills.

1.Exude Confidence But Do Not Go Overboard

Your years of experience is sure to make you proud enough to be well prepared for whatever job you apply for. However, while it is a good practice to display your skills and knowledge to your interviewer it is advisable that you know where to draw the line between confidence and overconfidence. While one may help you bag the job, the other may make you lose it. Express your thoughts about how your skills makes you the best fit for the job in a calm and composed manner. Bring out your best through your body language. In certain cases non-verbal communication goes a long way in sending the right message in a much better way than verbal communication. A good interviewer, if he or she is astute enough will be able to gauge your capability from your replies and non-verbal responses. Refrain from being over enthusiastic about your skills and why you think you are the best because it will not help you in achieving your goals.

2. Adhere to Appropriate Dress Code

Appearances are always critical for first impressions. Your way of dressing talks a lot about how you are as a person. Make sure you find out if there are any specific dress codes that you need to follow in order to appear for the interview. Most technology companies prefer casual dressing. However, traditional companies would prefer a more formal attire. It is better that you are aware of these preferences and are not over or under dressed on the day of the interview.

3. Do Your Homework Thoroughly

If you recall your school days, the good students would always be the ones who did their homework well. Though, there is a lot more at stake now than your school days, nevertheless, it is always a good idea to maintain the old practice of doing your homework. In this case, it would translate to doing a thorough research on the organization that is interviewing you. Learn about the work they are doing and how you think you are equipped to contribute in their growth. Organizations are not interested only in learning about your accomplishments. Rather if you can weave a connection between how you can use your accomplishments in helping them achieve benefits, that is what will spark their real interest. This is possible only if you know about the organization’s objectives and understand how to match your skills with their vision statement.

4. Communicate Rather than Just Talk

Interview skills should not be honed to make you talk. Rather gear yourself up to communicate. To conduct effective communication with your interviewer you should listen well. Understand what they are trying to tell you in terms of their expectations, corporate objectives and organizational mission. If you do not listen well then your answers will not be relevant to their need. Irrelevant, out-of-context talk will not be of any advantage to either you or your interviewer. It will be a waste of time both for you as well as for them. Listen patiently to the question being asked before answering. Build the correct frame of reference in order for your communication to be effective.

Developing the right interview skills is critical in bagging the right job. It is as important as possessing the appropriate technical skills for it. Without knowing the right way to tackle the interview, you may lose the job despite having being technically fit for it. Make sure you prepare yourself well to face the next interview with confidence.

You may also want to read other articles written by the same author ‘Tips To Knowing Yourself Better‘, ‘The P-C-R approach to achieve financial stability‘, ‘Emotional awareness for personal and professional success‘, ‘Tips to improve your resume writing‘ ‘Back from the break – 3 tips to make you rock it’.

About the author:

Amrita is a freelance writer currently based out of Pune. She has worked  with organizations as a Technical and Web Content Writer. Her short stories have been published on Amazon and on Juggernaut books. She is an avid traveler and her travel stories are available on her blog – Amritawrites.

(The author is a guest blogger at Her Second Innings. The opinions expressed are those of the author.)

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