How to communicate effectively in an interview.

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We’ve all heard it. The number one advice given when you’re going for an interview.

“Make sure you communicate your points clearly!”

But, not a lot of people actually tell you how to do this.

Being more on the introverted side myself, I always found this an extremely tough skill. I’ve spent a lot of time working on this skill, and continue to do so. Although I still have some way to go on this, I’m going to share a few tips that have helped me along the way.

Body language

This is a really quick win and if you can get this right then you’re almost all of the way there. Sit up right, shoulders back and smile. Not only does this make you more approachable but it actually makes it easier to talk. Try having a conversation whilst hunched over and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Making this small adjustment will help you to project your voice across the room (or through video). A good rule of thumb here, is that your voice should be prominent enough for anyone to hear you clearly within about 3 metres.

Listen

Not doing this is probably the easiest way to ensure you don’t impress. Yes, listen to communicate better. So many times candidates are already thinking of the next thing to say before the interviewer has asked their question.

This can be for a number of reasons. You might be super nervous. And you start formulating an answer before the question has finished. But, now you’ve missed the 2nd half of the question and shooting yourself in the foot.

This is also an area where extroverts may find some difficulty. Naturally, an extrovert may tend to jump in as someone is speaking, thinking they’ve finished. To some, this may come across as rude. But, in actuality, this isn’t what’s happening. This is how an extrovert shows enthusiasm. If this is you, be conscious of it and practice controlling the urge to jump in. Wait until the person is finished, even leaving a short moment of silence to be sure. Then, go for it.

Concise answers

Avoid rambling. Some people find it really hard to articulate answers to a question. So make a strategy to get around this. A quick win here is to practice answers to commonly-asked questions.

Use the STAR or ASR methods to answer these questions. And practice them until you’re confident enough to reel them off without thinking.

Go further. Go as far as recording your answers – on video. People respond not to just what you say, but how you say it. Watch your recording, how do you feel when you’re listening? Energised? Engaged? Bored?

This is such a powerful tool. Record yourself, and adapt the way you present your thoughts in order to take your interviews to the next level.

Silence.

Yep. Silence. We touched on this briefly earlier. This is key to communicating better in an interview. Use this, and you’ll see your interviews reach new heights.

A lot of people think that they have to answer immediately after a question is asked. Unless this is one of your scripted answers, that you know down to a tee, don’t feel like you need to jump straight in. Take a second, and digest the question. This will help you formulate a proper response. Even go as far as asking, “Can I just take a second to think of a well thought-out response?”

This is a perfectly reasonable and acceptable thing to do in an interview. The silence won’t be awkward – as long as you don’t take too long, of course. And, the interviewer will appreciate hearing a proper answer. Rather than something irrelevant, or incomplete, because you haven’t thought it through enough.

Try doing some of these things before and during your next interview and I’m sure you’ll see a drastic improvement in the way your interviews go.

I’ve used all of these techniques in some capacity during my career to improve my own communication skills. I hope they can help you too.

Thoughts, feedback and questions welcome.

Ash

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