How To Come Across Well In Interviews

If you’ve managed to secure an interview, you’re almost certainly qualified for the job. The employer wouldn’t waste time on someone who wasn’t capable. So don’t just worry about proving your ability; the interview process is about separating out candidates that seem equally suitable on paper, and finding something unique. Something that sets you apart from the rest. It’s a chance for you to demonstrate your personality. The most elegant way to come across well in interviews is by using your personality as a means of conveying your capability. Here are 4 techniques that will help you do just that.


1. Show, Don’t Tell

Employers are used to hearing bland claims about a person’s skill set (‘I’m organized, punctual, efficient’ etc), so find ways to convey these skills through an interesting story. When asked ‘tell me about yourself’, respond with an elevator pitch that shares something about you as a person. Anyone can claim to be a good leader, but if you use examples that illustrate these qualities, it will be more engaging.

For example, an employer asks: “How do you find working in a team?”

Show, don’t tell: “Well, I’ve realized that what unites my interests—be it leading my university football team, being in a band, being part of a large family—is the sense of inclusion that comes from working with people.”

That way, you not only demonstrate a desired skill, you also convey some interesting and useful details about you as a person, making you more memorable and complete.


2. Speak In Testimonials

It’s generally more effective if you can relay your important skills and achievements through the testimonies of others. It gives authenticity to your claims, and shows that your work has been appreciated in the past.

If you are able to speak about your own qualities from someone else’s perspective, it will signal to the interviewer that you are not only a good worker, but that you aim to impress people.

For example, perhaps you wish to present yourself as X, tell and anecdote in which a previous employer called you X. This is a very sophisticated way of managing how you come across in interviews.


3. Make It About Them, Not About You

The interviewer is only interested in figuring out if you’ll fulfill their needs. Are you the missing jigsaw piece? A company is much larger than an individual, so talking exclusively about yourself, or how the role will benefit you, is a big mistake. In order to prove you are the missing jigsaw piece, you need to understand the puzzle. Demonstrate an understanding of their organization, their goals and their needs. Focus on how you can benefit them, not the other way round.

Although certain perks, such as a high salary or flexible work schedule, may in fact underlie your interest in the role, these factors shouldn’t be mentioned in the interview. Instead, highlight what you will bring to the role.

  • Prepare to give specific answers about why you want this job in particular, and why you’re sure you’ll be good at it.
  • Frame your skills specifically as things you can bring to this role, not just as abstract qualities you happen to possess.
  • Do your research. Investigate the organization in advance and single out an aspect of the company you’ll be able to discuss in the interview (preferably a niche aspect that suggests you’ve done more than just five minutes on Google).

If you really want to impress, come to the interview armed with some ideas or innovations you can offer the company. If you can show initiative and enthusiasm in the interview, you’ll come across as someone who has something singular to offer.

4. Ask Questions

The interview is as much for you as it is for them. It’s a way for you to learn more about the company, and the details of the role. Many interviewees fail to appreciate that a good interview is a mutual process of figuring out whether or not you and the company are suited to each other.

Let’s say the interview goes well, and they offer you a job… If you leave the interview having learnt nothing about the role, then you’ll remain uninformed when you have to make a decision.

What’s more, by asking questions, you’ll come across as interested and engaged. It shows that you’re someone who’s brimming with ideas and intrigue.

Come to the interview with at least three questions prepared, and always look for opportunities to probe further. Interviewers will often finish by saying ‘Do you have any questions?’ – Never ever say no. It makes you seem blunt and disinterested.

If you adopt these four techniques, you will find that presenting yourself as a person and proving your ability need not be exclusive. If you want to come across well, use your personality as a means of conveying your capability.



Photo courtesy of pexels
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