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Jobs interviews - your communications skills are as important as your CV

Posted on 20/07/2016 by Simon Bruce

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It is not only what you say and how you appear when you enter the interview room, but also the way you communicate and give your answers to the interview questions. 
 
Many say, and we support their view, that the outcome of your interview can be decided in the first few seconds you enter the interview room, or indeed sometimes as you enter the company building. Don't forget, your interviewer may be there right in front of you already, saying goodbye to the previous candidate.  Here are some more tips
 
Print out the job advertisement
 
Don't forget to take with you the job advertisement to which you are applying. Read this through again as you go to your interview. You will have hopefully studied this carefully before you applied for the job.  
 
Prepare questions and answers and practise
 
You have probably already seen advice telling you to think through in advance some of the  questions that you may be asked at the interview and to prepare your answers. But it is also important how you reply with these answers. Rehearse before the interview day. Why not record yourself on your 'phone and hear how you sound.
 
Eye Contact
 
You are speaking to the interviewer so keep some eye contact.  Avoid looking at the ground, be enthusiastic...you want the job yes? Appear interested....all these actions are as important as the  words on your CV
 
Research the company
 
Complete research on the company, and have some questions ready to ask them. Ok, you have probably heard this advice before, but it is no less important today; and we say again, the way you ask these questions is important.
 
Visual cues

 
80 percent of what you are trying to say can be masked or altered by the way you express your reply to an interview question. Your reply can at best, be seen as lacking in confidence, or worse totally misunderstood.  This is important in all walks of life. If you want or need to say something, it makes sense to think about how you are "delivering" that message. You need to express yourself in a way that works.  
 
Many of us have studied specialist subjects, but for most of us the topic "skill of communication" is not studied. This is a pity, as it is important both inside and outside of your work environment. Even more so in an interview, as you only have a short time to give and leave a good impression. 
 
Listen to yourself

 
As we mentioned above, record some example replies to questions and listen to hear if you are making any of the errors often heard at interviews.... the  long um while thinking, a phrase repeated again and again, such as "you know".  Before answering, pause and think about the question, then reply.  This shows you are thinking about their question...and it gives you time to think!
 
Watch your posture and pace of speech and your tone
 
Take care to adopt a good position - do not slouch on the chair, watch the body language of the interviewer(s).  Try not to speak in one long single tone.....vary your voice a little, sound interested!
 
Questions work
 
Prepare some questions about the company. How many staff do they have? Why are they recruiting? What are the key skills they are looking for in this position?  And ask them in an interested way and note the replies.
 
Silence is golden
 
Turn off your telephone! Do not take telephone calls while the interview is underway - maybe that is obvious but it does happen!
 
Timing
 
You may know when the next interview is scheduled so you may know how long you have for your own interview. Try to leave ten minutes at the end of the interview to ask your questions.
 
Ask
 
You may find an opportunity to ask how they feel about your CV and your replies to their questions. Perhaps ask them is there anything else you can provide to describe more fully your work experience.
 
Timescale
 
You can ask them if they know the timescale, i.e. when do they plan to make a decision and send out a job offer?

Appearance
 
We have left this to last, as 

1) you should already have taken note of how you look and 

2) to stress that this is as important as how you speak and give your replies. Some prepare by looking in their mirrors at home beforehand and see how they appear as if they are in an interview. Would you hire you! One day you may be interviewing people for the company that you are hoping to join. Let them see you in the best light.  Let your body language and posture reinforce your CV and excellent job skills.  Good luck.