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Interview Techniques

Nailing a job interview can be a tricky art to master, but it’s not impossible. Really, all you need is to pick up a few techniques and you should be on your way to interview success. We’ve put together a bunch of different interview techniques for you to try out. You don’t need to try all of them, but it’s well worth being aware of the different interview techniques out there.

Before the interview…

Visualising the interview is an excellent way of working out what areas you need to work on. Imagine you were an interviewer looking at your CV for the first time. What questions would you ask? Think of the most difficult questions they could ask you, e.g. “Why weren’t you more proactive at university?” or “Why has it taken you four months to find your first graduate job?”

Imagine yourself answering them. What would you say? Do you need to prepare answers? Also, try to imagine the qualities that the interviewer might be looking for in an ideal candidate. How do you match those qualities and, more importantly, how can you show those in an interview?

Self-reflection & selling yourself…

It’s worth making a list of your values, interests, strengths and weakness with accompanying examples or evidence to back up each one. You need to sell these attributes to the interviewer and give examples of times when you have shown them.

You’ll also need to think about why you want the job and what you have to offer the organisation. Imagine you had a job at the company; what would you change or what ideas would you bring to the role? It might also be worth thinking about your short-term and long-term career goals.

At the interview…

Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to clarify a question. Ask questions during the interview, rather than just at the end. This makes it seem like you are interviewing their company too. The key is to position yourself so it looks that, whilst you’re interested and enthusiastic about the job, you have a sense of your own self-worth; you aren’t desperate for the role. However, it’s important that you don’t let this descend into arrogance.

It’s about repositioning the interview, so it feels more like a formal conversation. Asking questions during the interview works on a psychological level too, putting you on a more equal footing with the interviewer. Consequently, they are more likely to imagine themselves working with you. When they ask you if you have any questions, ask open ended questions.

Body language…

Body language is very important. Slouching with your arms crossed won’t exactly make you look like a model employee. Lift that chin up, make sure your head is straight and in line with your spine, and put those shoulders back. Guys, make sure your legs aren’t splayed too far apart and, girls, lightly crossed legs will do the trick. Make sure you make eye contact with the interviewer when you speak to them. If this feels uncomfortable, concentrate on the space between their eyes just above their eyebrows. Above all, relax.  Don’t put your feet up on the desk, but a tense, tight body won’t help at all.

Pay attention…

Interviewers often like the sound of their own voice. So even if your interviewer launches into a huge long spiel about the company, always look like you are listening attentively and punctuate the diatribe with slight nods of the head. Always wait for them to finish speaking before answering. It’s so important to keep your concentration levels up during the interview and make sure you listen attentively.

How to speak…

No-one wants to employ a robot, so don’t speak in a monotone. Think less Arnold Schwarznegger in Terminator, more Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean – ok maybe not so camp. Others go to the other extreme in the voice tone scale and inSERT unnatURal inflectIONS into their speech. Resist the temptation, it just sounds bizarre. A nicely controlled modulation of tone should do the trick.

Who to speak to…

The likelihood is that you’ll be interviewed by more than one person. You need to make sure you pay attention to all of the different interviewers. So when you answer a question, make sure you look at each of them in turn, so as not to exclude anyone. Although, if an interviewer asks you a direct question, it’s probably better to address your answer solely to them, but make sure you keep your body language open to the others, i.e. don’t angle your body away from them.

Getting interviews down to a ‘T’ takes practice. Nearly everyone has a bad interview, so don’t despair if you have shocker. The main thing is to act natural, try and relax and SMILE. Nobody wants to employ a glum, tense, nervous wreck.