How To Improve Your Chances During A Job Interview. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from Nick Ronald of Toastmasters International. Nick will be exploring how to build rapport during a job interview. No matter how confident you feel, a job interview brings out nerves. So, what can you do to reduce your stress and ensure you build rapport during your interview?
How To Improve Your Chances During A Job Interview
For many of us, job interviews make us nervous. We fear being judged, the possibility of rejection, and the reality of having to sell ourselves. The best way to build great relationships and influence people is to create rapport, connection, mutual understanding, and respect for each other. As with any form of public speaking, building rapport is essential to interview success, something you can practice and prepare for.
In a job interview, you must ensure the first impression is positive.
As you enter the room, walk purposefully towards the interviewer(s). In a Zoom interview, be ready for when you first see them. Shake hands, if appropriate, with a firm, relaxed grip. And, most importantly, look them in the eye and smile. These body language actions are the most obvious way people will judge our confidence and trust in us.
Body Language Signals
Your body language should support the rapport you create. When you listen to a question from one of the interviewers, turn slightly to face whomever you are talking to and nod your head. This signals, ‘I am listening to you, I understand, and I agree’. Using hand gestures can help reinforce what you are saying if they are natural.
Answer Using Names
Using the interviewer’s name is an excellent way to establish rapport. Imagine the difference in the answer, ‘Well, there was one time when I worked at….’ and ‘Well, Julie, there was one time when I worked at….’.
You’re selling yourself, so never give others credit for your work or achievements. Interviewers don’t care what your team achieved, only what YOU achieved. With every example, say, ‘I managed, created, achieved. Always I and NEVER ‘we’.
Tackling Competency Questions
Use the STAR method for answering competency questions. The questions include:
- Do you have an example of…
- Tell us about a time when…
Situation: Brief scene setting; what was the problem you had to solve or improve
Task: what was the challenge or challenges, and what approach did you take
Action: WHAT specific actions did you take to solve the problem and improve the situation
Result: Demonstrate the successful outcome of your actions (and how you measured the outcome’s success).
Your Final Statement
Like any good presentation, you must end with a firm conclusion when an interview ends. After all, you want them to remember you. You can do this by asking questions that help engage them and show interest in the role or by finishing with a strong concluding statement. For example, “Thank you, I’ve enjoyed talking to you today. I’m excited to apply for this role as I see it as a great fit for my skills and experience and know I can make a difference to the success of the xx project/team”. Craft your concluding statement to include three bullet points of why you should get the job.
Preparation And Practice
It is increasingly likely that your interviewers will research you on social media, so you should do the same. Google your interviewers or find them on LinkedIn, as you might discover that you have something in common that you can use as a point of reference in establishing rapport. Connections help build trust and rapport, and you can note a common interest you share in the interview.
Familiarise Yourself With The Job Description
You need to prove in your answers that you are what they are looking for and you can do what is required. The more you practice your answers, familiarise yourself with your CV and hold mock interviews with a friend or two, the more you will feel ready for the interview. Practice is a great confidence booster in public speaking in general and is very important for interviews.
If you are unsuccessful, ask for feedback. Not all employers will give it, but it can prove invaluable when you can get it. Use that feedback to improve your chances at the following interview. Knowing what you need to improve is essential if you want to progress. Also, practice makes perfect with public speaking; it is the same with interviews, so practice until you feel ready.
Using The Pause
In Toastmasters, we are taught the power of pause. If you are stressed or anxious, take a pause. If you are speaking too quickly, take a pause. And if you want to let a point sink in or have more impact, take a pause. A simple pause can be a potent tool. So, if you can’t think of an answer to a question, smile and take pause.
I hope you find these tips helpful as you prepare for your following interview and prepare yourself to build great rapport and a successful outcome.
I hope you enjoyed that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Ronald is a member of Toastmasters International, a not-for-profit organisation that has provided communication and leadership skills since 1924 through a worldwide network of clubs. More than 400 clubs and 10,000 members are in the UK and Ireland. Members follow a structured educational programme to gain skills and confidence in public and impromptu speaking, chairing meetings and time management.
To find your nearest club, visit www.toastmasters.org