Want to Improve Your Interview Skills? Read These Valuable Suggestions

by John Philip Green

You have, as the adage says, only one chance to make a good first impression. But interview skills, like any other skills, need to be learned and practiced.

These are some important ideas that can greatly improve your interview outcome.

A Good Start

Always be punctual, and when you arrive offer a firm handshake with some eye contact. Looking at someone's eyes and then looking away is fine. You are not expected to hold eye contact all the time. Appear sure of yourself by standing with good posture.

Appropriate Dress

No matter what the company or job, you always want to appear well-dressed and well-groomed. A call inquiring about company dress code before the interview is a good idea, but your appearance on interview day should be professional.

Your Attitude/Behaviour During the Interview

The perfect interview is a balance of of confidence, modesty and respect on your part and your behaviour should always be professional. One way that you can achieve this is by being a good listener, and letting the interviewer know that you are hearing what they are saying.

Don't be so anxious to impress that you talk too much, giving more information than you should and exhibiting a nervousness.

Finally, you are there as a interviewee seeking employment, not a friend. That is not to say that you should be cold or unfriendly. Take your lead from the interviewer and respond in kind.

Your Language During an Interview

Avoid slang and, as with any person you do not know, topics such as politics, sexual orientation, age, race and religion should be avoided. Keep your language appropriate, professional, and enthusiastic.

Answering and Asking Questions

Focus on what is being asked, and answer it in a clear and concise way. If you talk around a question, you are implying that you don't know the answer, or that the experience they are seeking is not there. If they are good questions, it is an opportunity to bring out your strongest qualities and skills.

As well, a potential employer expects that you will have questions. Some you will have prepared beforehand, and some are as a result of the active listening that you have been doing during the interview. Asking questions shows that you are interested in the job/company, but also helps you determine if this is the right employment for you.

Concluding the Interview

As with the start of the interview, a firm hand shake is appropriate. This will be done while standing, with eye contact and a word of thanks for the opportunity of having this interview.

Let the employer take the lead with next steps, such as how and when you will be contacted. This is not a time to tell them that you are needing the job or hoping to hear from them very soon. In no way seem desperate. You have done your best to present yourself as the right person for the job, any emotional statements at the end just diminish this effect.

Concluding Thoughts

Building interview skills is a process over time. In order to improve with each successive interview you need to honestly evaluate each experience when you get home.

Assess what you did well, and how you could improve next time. This is best done in writing and dated. That makes it an easy reference when you prepare for your next interview. Don't be to hard on yourself, but at the same time you need to be realistic.

Once you have developed your interview skills, they actually become a positive challenge and even fun.

Good Luck!