Job interview techniques: How to perform better

Interview techniques1. Prepare

It should be possible to know in some detail what the interviewers will ask you about. It’s all about taking the information that they have provided and understanding their key criteria. These are the things they will be using to decide whether or not to offer you the role.

All you have to do then is match up your knowledge, skills and experience.

Ever thought about ‘winging it’? Well it won’t work. It’s reasonable for the employer to expect that you’ve fully considered the information they have provided. Demonstrating why you should be chosen for a particular job is about so much more than just describing what you have done before.

2. Know the company

There is a difference between knowing key facts about a company and understanding these things. If it is a very straightforward job then knowing key facts about their products and services may suffice. But for a professional or expert role then you will need to demonstrate understanding of the key issues around their business. Be careful not to make too many assumptions though, because you will not know the particular opinions and priorities of the interviewers. So it’s a matter of making intelligent comments rather than taking too much of a risk. Asking informed questions is one method of doing this.

3. First impressions

Your body language needs to exude confidence in order that the words you use have impact. If you inadvertently come across as lacking confidence then this can easily undermine the quality of what you say. If you don’t have confidence then how can they believe you are an expert? If this is an issue for you then some coaching can pay off enormously.

Tone of voice is also worth thinking about. Injecting some variety not only prevents you from sounding monotone, it also shows the kind of things you are particularly interested in or excited by. Some of this will come out naturally and is difficult to fake.

If two candidates are close in terms of their skillset then level of interest is often used to determine the successful candidate.

4. Structure of your answer

Knowing whether to give one example or a few and then how much detail to go into has a great bearing on the quality of your answer. Then how are you going to structure it? Speaking until you run out of things to say and then stopping won’t do. Decide what you should cover and go about it in a logical way.

5. Content of your answer

Knowing which example(s) to give in which answer is a key decision. Examples need to be selected to demonstrate the key skills they are seeking.

Because you don’t know what question they will ask next, you may find yourself needing to use the same example more than once. That is OK as long as you provide a different take on it, with different details related to the specific question.

All of this is hard to do without preparation. You will have done a lot in your career, not all of which you will instantly recall. So, thinking about which examples show which skills and which are most relevant is key.

See more of my interview advice or get help through my interview coaching service.

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Graeme Jordan

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CV Writer and Interview Coach. Blogging about ways to improve your CV writing and job searching experience.