Interviewing is nerve-racking for everyone. The line of questioning can make it feel as though you are in an interrogation chair desperately trying to demonstrate to the interviewer why you are the best candidate for the job.
Here a few tips to help you leave the interrogation room behind and turn a one-sided line of questioning into a conversation:
The best interviews don’t feel like interviews; they feel like a naturally-flowing conversation that happens to be about a position/company
1. Break the Ice
Building rapport is key when trying to obtain a job. Take time to partake in small talk. This will allow you to calm your nerves and provide some filler between questions rather than a rapid-fire question and answer session. It is also a chance for the hiring team to see your personality and ability to build relationships.
People gravitate to and enjoy speaking with those who are pleasant to talk to. Having a positive attitude and being optimistic lets the interviewers engage with you and your answers more. People like to be around those who are happy. Positivity is key in holding an engaging conversation.
3. Do Your Research
It is essential to research the company you are interviewing with beforehand. More important than this, it is necessary to show your interviewer that you did that research. This does not mean listing off facts on the first page of a company's website; dig deeper and bring up the key points you saw throughout the interview and ask questions. This is a great way to create some conversational back and forth with your interviewer.
4. Listen More, Talk Less
There is an old saying, “we have two ears and one mouth for a reason"; use them in that ratio! Allow the hiring leader to speak, and politely chime in when you have a question. Active listening and paraphrasing are wonderful ways to demonstrate your soft skills during your interview.
Listening is a forgotten art. Most people simply wait for someone to stop talking so they can reply when they really should be using that time to listen and formulate a proper response.
5. Answer the Questions Properly
It’s okay to take a moment to pause prior to answering a question. Ensure you, again, listen to the question and formulate and authentic response. If you do not know an answer, it’s okay to ask for clarification or say that you do not know something. Be honest.
More important than showing your knowledge is showing your integrity as a professional. After all, one of those things can be taught much faster than the other.
6. Don’t Wait Until the End to Ask Questions
Politely asking questions throughout your interview shows you are listening. It also gives your interview the ability to become more conversational.
Keep your questions professional and circle back to items the interviewer has spoken about. Ask questions throughout the interview, but still try to save a few for the end to show you are interested in learning more.
The best interviews don’t feel like interviews; they feel like a naturally-flowing conversation that happens to be about a position/company. If your goal is to have a great interview, follow some of the tips above and soon enough you will notice that your interview chair has turned into an office seat!