Interviewing skills are essential to succeeding in a job interview. They help you confidently present your strengths to a recruiter so that you appear as an ideal fit for their organisation. Recruiters can pick out candidates with good interviewing skills almost immediately. Thus, fine-tuning your interviewing skills can get you a step closer to your dream role. In this article, we discuss what interviewing skills are, why they are important, the different types and how to improve your interviewing skills.
What are interviewing skills?
Interviewing skills are the characteristics and behaviours you employ to establish a connection with a recruiter during an interview. These skills determine how you articulate your points and how the interviewer perceives them. They are essentially a set of interpersonal skills that allow you to interact with confidence and clarity. Typically, interviewers can distinguish job candidates that have done their preparation through their interviewing skills. From their perspective, these candidates usually appear more professional and seem to be a better fit for their organisation.
Why are interviewing skills important?
Interviewing skills are important because they will determine your ability to progress from one job to the next throughout your entire career. Here are few reasons to explain the importance of interviewing skills in the job-seeking process:
Highlights your most employable characteristics
When a job candidate appears confident in an interview, recruiters are more likely to trust their expertise. Rather than simply discussing your achievements, recruiters can witness your employable characteristics by your professional attitude during an interview. Employers would rather hire someone who believes in themselves and is enthusiastic to work with them, over a more qualified candidate. Excellent interviewing skills convey your potential for growth.
Presents you as a reliable employee
Crucial to every interview is your ability to be honest and vulnerable. Interviewing skills are not about getting every question perfect, they are there to help you present your truest self. This helps recruiters make a reliable assessment of you. It's also in your best interest to be as trustworthy as possible. You would rather spend more time finding a role that fits you than committing to a role that may leave you feeling unfulfilled.
Brings attention to your unique personality
Interviewing skills allows you to feel relaxed and be yourself. This is essential because recruiters want to learn more about you than just the qualifications and skills that you have already listed on your resume. Interviewing skills give you the confidence to take charge of the interview. Use this authority to find common ground with the interview. If you can successfully show your personality, recruiters are more likely to find you relatable. It suggests that you work well with others, a trait employers find highly desirable.
Types of interviewing skills
The following are key interviewing skills you will need to succeed in a job interview:
Verbal communication skills
Verbal communication skills include your tone of voice, pitch and language clarity. In an interview, you want to sound respectful and genuine at all times. Sudden changes to your tone or pitch may suggest defensiveness. Thus, it's important to practise approachable verbal communication skills.
Nonverbal communication skills
Nonverbal communication skills include your facial expressions and body language. As a general rule, always maintain eye contact with the interviewer to hold their attention. Square your shoulders and sit up straight to communicate confidence. Practise your interviewing skills in front of a mirror to see how you react with your facial expressions. To appear engaging and polite, smile often and use small but assertive hand gestures.
Attentive listening skills
In an interview, you want to make sure you effectively address every question the recruiter has in mind. This requires good attentive listening skills. While the interviewer is speaking, give them the chance to express themselves in full. When they ask you a complex question, summarise their words to show your understanding. If you are still unsure, politely ask them to reframe the question. To appear attentive, nod while they speak and avoid interrupting them.
Time management skills
Interviews usually take between 30 minutes to an hour. This means you want to use your time as effectively as possible. The key to good time management skills in an interview is to deliver concise answers that pack as much information as possible. Responses that are too lengthy not only take up valuable time, but they can also cause people to lose focus. To make the most of your time, try to think of an interview as a two-way conversation with the recruiter.
How to improve your interviewing skills
Interview skills take time and practice. Even when an interview does not go as planned, you can treat it as an opportunity to develop your skills. Review the following guide to understand how to improve your interviewing skills:
1. Review the job description
A job description reveals exactly what your recruiter is looking for in their ideal candidate. Use a highlighter to single out any emphasis on key skills and experiences. Try to incorporate these keywords in your interview preparation. This is an excellent technique to help you position yourself as a suitable match for the role. If you have questions during your preparation process, bring them up as interesting discussion points in your interview.
2. Research the company
Browse the company's website, social media profiles and news articles to familiarise yourself with their values and their latest work initiatives. Recruiters will recognise the effort you make to understand their goals through how knowledgeable you sound with your answers. This step is also a great way for you to gauge whether the role can help you achieve your career ambitions. If you have any concerns, an interview is an excellent opportunity to discuss your expectations, too.
3. Prepare answers to relevant interview questions
Reading the job description will give you an idea about the interview questions to expect. Combine this with your knowledge of the industry to compile a list of potential interview questions. Next, create an outline of the major points you want to address for each question. When preparing your answers, avoid writing out a script word for word. This way, your delivery will sound more natural.
4. Rehearse with a close friend
Roleplay your interviewing skills with a close friend or family member. Practise will help you feel more comfortable being interviewed. It will reduce your nerves and allow you to refine your answers. Remember to ask your acting interviewer for advice on how you can improve. Being on the other side, they can observe your facial expressions and body language. Use their tips to appear more approachable in an interview setting.
5. Plan your interview outfit
The dress code of the organisation you are interviewing for may differ depending on their company culture. However, as a safe option, it's always best to dress in standard formal business attire for an interview. Being overdressed is always better than being underdressed. It shows your professionalism and attention to detail.
Before the day of your interview, try out your interview outfit. Make sure it fits well and looks ironed. Remember to wear a classic colour, such as black or blue, so that it looks appropriate in most work settings.
6. Be observant
During your interview, pay close attention to how your interviewer behaves and reacts to your answers. Observing their body language can help you steer the interview in a more positive direction. For example, if the recruiter looks confused, you can summarise your points and wrap up the discussion.
Observe your internal feeling during the interview, too. Your gut instinct can guide you about whether to change the topic or dive deeper into a subject. If at any time you feel overwhelmed, take the time to compose yourself. Take a deep breath and ask your interviewer for further clarification.
7. Share compelling experiences
Use examples of your achievements and share stories to keep your recruiter engaged. This is a great way to build a rapport with the interviewer. It presents you as a down to earth professional with a compelling communication style. Stories, in particular, add a personal touch to your answers. It not only makes you appear more credible, but it also suggests that you are trustworthy.
8. Practice respectful communication skills
Even if you find some questions challenging in an interview, remaining polite at all times will surely leave a lasting impression. Conveying respect in an interview suggests that you are easy to work with, a desirable trait that most employers seek in candidates in order to maintain a healthy work environment.