Two essential aspects that are required for nailing down any interview is

  1. Approach / Preparation for the interview
  2. Communication Style

By honing these skills, you will have an upper hand over the other candidates. This article give you the edge that makes a difference in hiring process.

Here is what we cover:

How to proceed with your interview

There are few traits one has to keep in mind while preparing for an interview.

Day before the Interview

Few things most candidates ignore before the interview.

  • Review the job posting. It helps the candidate to understand and get clear what exactly company is looking for.
  • Practice answering common questions. It will give you confidence and overcome nervousness while facing interview.
  • Prepare questions for the employer. Asking questions to the employer shows you're not only interested in the interview, but also thinking about your future with the company.
  • Map the directions. It will save your time on the day of the interview.
  • Make sure you have all your stationaries and documents with you- pen, paper, resume, certificates, etc. You might frequently need them for filling forms during the interview process.
  • Do your research thoroughly on organization's website, mission, and vision. You will use this information to demonstrate your knowledge of the company during the interview. It also gives an idea about company's client, product, and services.
  • Research latest news or updates about the organization. It will help you to understand the organizations work culture and their future plans. You can use social media sites for company's latest updates.
  • Figure out your trouble spots and make sure you overcome before interview,
    • Emotional State ( fear, impatience)
    • Knowledge of the topic

On Interview day

Don't forget that you're creating an impression from the very first time you enter the job place. When you enter the job place, do not ignore the following things.

  • First of all, switch off or silence your cell phone as soon as you enter company premises.
  • Treat each person you meet in a friendly, and respectful manner. It will help to showcase your personality.
  • Ask politely for your job schedule at the help desk or to the receptionist.
  • Be ready with your resume and other supporting documents for the positions you applied for. Rather looking for resume during the interview process, which sent a wrong message to the interviewer.
  • Wait for the concerned person to come. Do not show undue haste and sit comfortably.
  • Carry a Cheat Sheet with you. Make a list of your key skills, experiences, and abilities that are related to the position you are applying for. Then try to bring these up during the interview. You can also list points in cheat sheet that aren't mentioned in detail on your resume. This might include your accomplishments.

During the interview

Remember following tips while facing interview,

  • Be enthusiastic, energetic and avoid unnecessary anxiety when you enter the interview room.
  • As soon as you reach the meeting table, shake hands with the panel members, stand straight and wait for their permission to sit down. It sends a positive message of you being confident and respects for the interviewers.
  • In case if you are escorted to interview room and panel member is yet to be arrived in the meeting room. Do not touch the table or fiddle with any item lying around. Wait patiently for them.
  • Do not put loose items or any documents on the interviewer's desk unless it is offered to you. You can put them next to your seat, in your lap, or on the side table.
  • Make proper eye contacts with the interviewer when making a point. Avoid too many hand gestures. A good eye contact shows that you are confident and emotionally stable.
  • In case you don't know how to present yourself. Then try to mirror the vocal cadence and body language of the interviewer. But make sure you don't overdo it.
  • While you speak to the interviewer, it is better you remember their names. Refer them with their first name if you are encouraged to do so.
  • If there is more than one interviewer in the room, direct your answer mostly to the person who asked the question. But make sure to have an eye contact with each interviewer at some point.
  • Use real life scenarios and mention how you solved problems. Problem-solving is an essential skill in any workplace, it marks you as an independent employee.
  • Stay focused and don't let your mind get lost in what you said nor what they might ask next.
  • If the interviewer is in a bad mood and didn't bother to look at your resume. You can ask politely "May I take you through some highlights of my career?"
  • Thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet you both at the beginning and at the end of the interview.

Powerful words to use in Interview

Here are some powerful list of words you can use during an interview to draw interviewer's attention.

Powerful list of words to use in interview
Managed Delivered
Planned Improved
Developed Sustained
Supervised Streamlined
Incorporated Upgraded
Pioneered Modified
Achieved Directed
Capitalized Delegated
Advanced Inspired
Expanded Motivated
Trained Acquired

Tips for answering Interview Questions

While answering interview questions, following details might be helpful to the candidate. It will help them to overcome the interview anxiety and enhance the chances of getting hired.

  • Let the interviewer talk and lead the discussion without interrupting. Listen carefully, and then give thoughtful answers. You can't concentrate on what someone's is saying if you're forming what you're going to say next.
  • Ask for clarification if you don't understand something. While asking for clarification your tone should be soft. Calibrating your tone and energy level while answering can leave a positive impression on the interviewer. See below example, how to ask the interviewer if you don't understand the questions.
    • I didn't fully understand the question, would you mind repeating it for me?
    • Would you mind repeating the question, so I'm clear on what you're asking?
    • Am I correct in saying you are asking me X?
  • Try to explain everything well within the stipulated time.
  • Avoid speaking complex jargons and using "uhs," "you know," "hope," "but", and slang. It makes your listeners difficult to understand. It can be interpreted as a sign of nervousness and lack of knowledge.
  • Don't make any presumption and start answering before interviewer actually done with the questions
  • Be honest. Never embellish your past accomplishments or claim a skill you do not have. Instead, you can say interviewer that you haven't possessed that skill yet, but that you are eager to learn.
  • Use following words during the interview as well as in resume. It will get employers attention.
    • Responsibility- "As a part of my responsibility………"
    • Initiative- "I took initiative for the project……….."
    • Measurable- "The measurable increase in work productivity………"
    • Example-"Example of how I handled the situation……….."
  • On given opportunity give examples of how you learned something or how you solved a problem at a previous position.
  • To maintain listener's interest, present one point at a time with an example. Then gauge the listener's reaction and decide if you should make a second point.
  • Use following phrases in your answer, it will make your hiring chances more prominent
    • I want the job
    • The company is a great cultural fit for me
    • I'm genuinely interested in this company
    • I'm successful or succeeded in similar role previously
  • When you are asked, the reason for leaving a current job remember always speak positively about the past and present employers, even if your experience has not been positive with them.
  • Interviewees are often asked, "Where do you see yourself in future (or 10) years?" While answering this question divide your answer into two parts.
    • The first part of your answer should emphasis on the immediate position you are applying for and how you are excited by that opportunity.
    • The second part of your answer should address your future plans and expectations. By making it a 2 part answer, you're reaffirming your longing for the job while at the same time answering the future goals.
  • At the end of the interview, clarify the next steps. Also, you can seek feedback from the interviewer whether you have provided the level of detail needed to fully answer the question.

Post Interview

Interview is over but the process of leaving your impression in not over yet. Post interview you can do following things,

  • Thankyou note: Send a prompt thankyou note. E-mailing one within 24 hours of the interview. Then following up with a handwritten note that arrives one to three business days later. This shows that you really care about the position and you genuinely interested in the job.
  • Follow up: Send a follow-up letter. You can include a brief summary of one or two sentences indicating why the position is an excellent match for you. Mention any additional information to address areas of concern that you missed during the interview.
  • Apply for Other Jobs: No matter how well the interview went. Continue to send out applications, resume and go to interviews while waiting to hear back from interviewers.

How to do Assertive communication

Assertive communication is the most preferred style of communication, especially in a professional life. It helps in communicating without being getting too personal and offensive.

Let see first how positive and negative phrases can leave an impact on dialogue delivery.

Negative way of Saying Positive Way of Saying
  • The problem we have at hand is…
  • The situation we have at hand is…
  • We must implement the first solution
  • We should prefer to implement the first solution…
  • I am unable to provide the report before Thursday evening.
  • I would provide the report at the earliest by Thursday evening.
  • You did not submit the report this week.
  • The report was not submitted this week/ I did not receive the report this week.
  • They failed to meet the deadline
  • The deadline was missed

For assertive communication try following tips,

    • Solicit the views of others
    • Use phrases that seek collaboration
    • Constantly look for solutions
    • Find areas of agreement while still discussing differences
    • Explain clearly with reasons why something is not a good idea to implement
    • Avoid using words like 'just', 'only' and 'try'.
  • Examples of some assertive phrases,
    • Would it be possible to / if you/we could.....?
    • When would it be convenient...
    • Let's look at both the pros and cons of this....
    • Are there any other ways we can approach a solution on this?
    • I think we will feel much better if we learn from that and start afresh. What do you think?
    • I am not really happy with that, and I do also have another option. Can I go through this with you now please?
  • Avoid aggressive style of communication. Try not to use words or phrases like,
    • "You" statements
    • Avoid sarcastic comments if you are not too close with the person
    • Avoid negative comparison like "why don't you score like other students"?
    • Avoid negative words like Never, uncertain, irresponsible, trouble, unclear fear, mistakes, problems, faults, etc.
  • Preferences of communication differ from people to people. Try to match your communication style to Interviewer. Interviewer can be
    • Analytical- You will be expected to give facts and figures for your answers.
    • Result oriented – Need to show what you achieved in your career.
    • Expressive- Can expect questions on working relationship with your colleagues or previous employers.
  • Few surveys have postulated that person with high vocabulary has more chances to land high paying jobs. For effective communication, one must have minimum 50,000 -100,000 vocabulary.