By Tracey Dube
You’ve secured a job interview, and now it’s your time to shine. When you get to the room, or whichever platform the interview is taking place, understand that your qualifications and experience at this point don’t matter. Your prospective employer has already been impressed with your cv. They already know they want to hire you. The key now is to communicate effectively. How well you communicate with your interviewer will determine whether you land the job or not.
According to a study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, communication skills are the most desirable quality in a new hire. It’s no wonder the best communicators get hired first. If you need assistance in this area, below are practical tips to help you improve your communication at your next job interview.
“Resumes don’t get the job; people do” Michael C. Webb
Demonstrate confidence through nonverbal communication
Nonverbal communication is crucial as it displays your level of confidence without saying a word. To show confidence, make sure that you maintain eye contact, stand straight with your head up, and avoid slouching. Conveying confidence gives the interviewer faith in your abilities to do the job. However, don’t be overly confident, as this might be construed as arrogance.
Dress the part
First impressions do count, irrespective of the work industry or sector. Although clothing does not define you, the way you look communicates a lot about you and how the interviewer perceives you. So, ensure that you’re well-groomed and that you look professional. Lockdown is not an excuse to look sloppy for an interview.
Breathe and pause between sentences
Breathing helps to collect your thoughts, so you avoid saying the wrong things. Have you ever had a conversation with someone, and you responded quickly without thinking, and later in the day, you wished you had said something else instead? That’s where pauses come in handy.
Avoid fillers such as umm and uhh. These can negatively affect your credibility. The interviewer may assume that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Breathing and pausing also helps with this; instead of using an umm and uhh, you replace it with a pause for a few seconds.
Use professional language
Never use slang language. Even if the role you’re applying for is for a Junior Skateboard Coordinator. Don’t ever curse, avoid using jargon or making jokes, and definitely avoid politics, religion, or any other references that may limit your chances of securing the job. Also, very important, avoid using words that will make you seem desperate. For example, “I really need this job; please hire me, I beg you.” Don’t do it!
Of course, you’re excited to share your journey and career highlights, but be careful not to overshare and start rambling. Answer the questions in a manner that best represents you, your skills, and your experience. Going on and on more than is necessary is not a reflection of being smart. Instead, it can go south very quickly. Keep your answers concise and straightforward.
Listening is the number one rule in communication. Christopher Morley says, “there is only one rule for being a good talker – learn to listen.” If you’re not an efficient listener, you will miss out on crucial information from your interviewer about the role and the company. Moreover, listening ensures that you understand the questions so that you answer accordingly. If you don’t understand the question, ask the interviewer to elaborate.
Effective communication skills are essential in any job interview. Being able to communicate well, verbally and nonverbally, will give you a significant advantage. If you’re preparing for your first or second interview, ask a friend or someone more experienced to role-play the interview with you. Look out for the above points and practice.
Tracey Dube is a communication & life coach, who has worked with multi-national companies such as Microsoft, Anglo American Platinum, and KPMG.