Hi! Raquel is back here again. As an IT recruiter I have discovered that our qualifications and skills are only a part of what the hiring manager is looking in an interview. Whether we get the job depends mostly on how we behave at the interview—what we do, what we say, and how we say it.
From the first step we walk through to the final handshake on our way out, this blog will help us learn how to handle an interview. It will help us identify basic practices that can improve our chances, as well as show us how our tone of voice and body language can be interpreted.
Fair or not, using poor manners can give the hiring manager the impression that we are unlikely to be able to perform well in certain work situations, especially those involving work teams or customers. We do not care about, value, or respect the people with whom we are interacting or we are prone to rudeness or ignorance. So let’s practice these:
- Respect the interviewer's time, by being on time.
- Thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with us, both at the beginning of the interview and again at the end.
- Introduce ourselves to everyone we meet in the interview.
- Shake hands with everyone, using a firm—but not forceful—grip, and make strong eye contact.
- Place our loose items on the floor next to the seat, in the lap, or on the side table; do not put them on the interviewer's desk unless it is offered to.
- Keep all of our mobiles and other electronic devices turned completely off. A phone set to vibrate will interrupt the meeting.
- Keep a positive and friendly attitude.
Tone of voice
Definitely, our tone of voice says more than our words do. We can say we know how to perform the job duties, but if it doesn't sound secure we won't inspire much confidence in the hiring manager. So let's be sure to put this into consideration:
- Pause before answering to give ourselves time to gather our thoughts. A five-second pause may seem like a long time to us, but it will likely show the interviewer that we have considered our answer.
- Stick with a factual but interested tone. Avoid raising the pitch of our voice at the end of a statement. Doing so can change the tone of our statement to one of a question, which makes us seem uncertain. Avoid using the same tone for every answer, though, as it can make us sound bored.
- Practice our answers before we go. If we have a good answer prepared and practiced, it will be on the tip of our tongue! We will sound more confident if we are not trying to think up an answer on the spot.
- Try to eliminate or reduce the number of times we say um, uh, like, and you know. These filler phrases implies that we are not sure about what we want to say.
- Don't use "weak words". Starting our answers with I think that I am ... and I hope to ... and I believe that I can ... implies that we are not certain of our abilities.
- Don't apologize for being nervous. Doing so actually calls more attention to the fact that we are worried about our performance.
- We can get public speaking practice before the interview by joining a local public speaking group, such as Toastmasters.
Our body language
Body language can communicate almost as much information as what we are actually saying. Our true thoughts and attitude can be reflected in our body language. The more positive we feel about the interview and our abilities, the more likely this will be reflected in our body language. We can also:
- Try video recording ourselves during a practice interview to observe our body language.
- We can also practice with a friend or use a web conferencing tool like Skype which allows us to see a mirror view of ourselves while we are talking to another person.
- Pay attention to any unflattering mannerisms we may exhibit, like biting our lip, scowling while thinking, or nervous tapping.
- While it is good to be aware of any body language concerns, the best way to portray good body language is to approach the interview with a positive attitude. When we feel positive, we will naturally relax and smile more, thus making us appear more confident and appealing.
The largest part of our interview will be spent answering questions, so we will definitely want to know how to answer questions well. So we must:
- Ask for clarification if needed.
- Be honest.
- Stay true to our message.
- Always answer questions with our audience in mind.
- Avoid topics that can get us into trouble.
- Use clear and concise language.
- Seek feedback.
For the moment, these are some of the most important aspects to take into consideration when we start this recruitment process. In addition, you can also read "The day has come, my first job interview. How do I prepare for it?", written by Milena G.