How To Improve Interview Skills: 11 Tips for an Outstanding Interview

Attention job seekers: Amid a great job market, it is never easier to find work, unless you have, learn or improve your interview skills in place to make a great impression on potential employers. 

Job interviews are used as a gauge of your knowledge and ability to perform the job. Being prepared for your interview is one of the most important aspects. It will set you apart from the other candidates who may be equally skilled but not as prepared. 

It will keep you calm, and it will show the employer that you take this seriously. After all, they want to see that you value the opportunity at hand and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure success.

Are you interviewing for a job soon? Need to learn some tips on social and professional etiquette? Below are tips on how to improve interview skills.

1. Make Sure To Research the Company, Position, and the Job Duties

Being prepared for an interview is a must. Before you head out the door to your interview, you should know everything that you can’t about the company, position, and job duties. Be sure to do your research using their website, social media accounts, news articles, and former employee reviews. 

By comparing your skills, experience, and knowledge to the requirements of the position, you can determine if this is a good fit for you. Likewise, it can also provide insights into the corporate culture of the employer and whether it works for your personality type. 

Knowing how long people tend to stay in one role helps you understand whether or not this is a career stepping stone or a launching pad. Knowledge about the organization and the position will make it easier for you to answer questions and describe how you could fit in.

2. Prepare for Tough Interview Questions

Congratulations on your interview. Whether you’re a candidate in training or a seasoned resume writer, there are questions that you should always be prepared to answer. There is no right or wrong way to respond to each question, and there is no formula for the perfect response. 

“Practice makes perfect.” There is no better tip than this. The more you practice, the better you will be able to answer your interview questions. Examine the job posting and prepare a list of topics to cover in your interview. Be sure to practice your answers to these questions before your big day. 

There is no denying that interviews are stressful for both you and the person who calls or sends the notice. Prepare an answer or explanation before meeting with anyone for any reason. The last thing you want is to appear unprepared and to say something like, “I have no idea.”

3. Learn How to Properly Introduce Yourself In a Conversation

An introduction is one of the opening words in a conversation. It plays an important role in shaping the personality of a person. It can be one of the most stressful aspects and one of the major skills to improve in a job interview. Also, it shouldn’t sound silly or boring; it should contain useful details about who we are and why we should be chosen. No pressure, right?

People remember you for how you present yourself, so interviewers will always be sizing up your appearance and demeanor. Well, first off, it makes you feel good. Right? You’re vivacious and confident, and all the good feelings go right through you… or at least that’s how it feels when you know you nailed an interview, right?

However, knowing how to properly introduce yourself says a lot more about you than just being charming. A handshake doesn’t tell the interviewer everything they need to know. So let them see who you are and make a great first impression from the first minute.

SEE: Understand why it is important to have good interpersonal skills 

4. Watch Your Language and Body Language

You need to watch your language when you’re in an interview. Don’t use slang and don’t curse, especially if you’re being interviewed by a religious or children’s organization. Watch your body language, too. Don’t slouch or over-fidget. And avoid distractions like gum chewing or playing with your hair or clothing.

There is a saying that if you don’t have something good to say about someone, then don’t say anything at all. It’s not just with words; it’s also with our body language and non-verbal cues. Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication during an interview. In fact, research shows that 93% of the message we send is non-verbal.

SEE: Understand interpersonal skills

5. Know Your Strengths, But Accept Your Weaknesses As Well

If you want to improve your interview skills, you should start by taking care of the most important part of self-assessment: knowing your strengths. By highlighting your strengths, you can show how you can offer something to the table. 

This means understanding and knowing your strengths, but also accepting your weaknesses. Once you accept yourself and the person you are today, you will no longer feel intimidated or fearful during the interview process.

Your top priority is to convince an employer that you’re the right person for the job, so they’ll obviously want to know what your key strengths are. When you prepare for an interview, always focus on specific skills and improve qualities that relate directly to the position you’re applying for.

6. Control Nervousness

When meeting a potential employer for the first time, you want to make a great first impression. Nervousness is often the culprit that keeps candidates from performing at their best. But there are a few common-sense ways to fight off that nervousness and come across as confident and cool. 

If you are the nervous type, then do what you can to reduce the amount of stress in your life in the days before the interview. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, and try not to think about the interview too much. 

The trick to acing an interview is to become aware of your nervousness and the way you handle it. By doing that, you may be able to significantly improve your performance and your interview skills.

SEE: Discover coping skills

7. Review Your Resume 

Most job interviews include a question about your resume. You should know your resume inside and out. Make sure you know where the information is on your resume, what you’ve written, why you’ve included that information and any related details. We tend to think that the interview is the most important aspect of getting the job, but don’t forget the resume. 

The resume is the first contact you have with a prospective employer; it’s your introduction. So, even after you’ve landed an interview, keep working on your resume. Make sure it has all of the relevant information and keyword phrases that are appropriate for the job you are seeking. Strive for a good balance between creativity and professionalism. 

One sure way to set yourself apart from the other candidates is to design a unique and visually interesting resume. Present your information in a clear, logical manner so that you are easy to follow and understand. Remember, your resume probably won’t be read in-depth; instead, it will be studied quickly, then put down or discarded.

SEE: Here are the skills you want to put on your resume

8. Speak Confidently

Speaking confidently is the key to a successful interview. Talk with confidence, even if you’re nervous. Practice interviewing with a friend. Make eye contact, smile, and use open body language. Remember that an interviewer is a person too.

It shows employers that you are confident in yourself and your abilities, and gives them the confidence to hire you. Use your interview prep time to work on your delivery and boost your confidence.

9. Dress Appropriately

It’s critical to prepare for a job interview, but don’t forget to prepare what you wear. Since the impression you make is important, it is just as crucial that you look nice. Dress appropriately. If you are trying to get a job, the first impression you make matters, especially if it is a face-to-face interview.

It’s a great way to open the eyes of interviewers who are doubtful about your desire to work for their company. Come across as someone who can dress themselves without looking like a child, and you’ve proved that you’re not just a job-seeker but someone who can walk the walk if you get the job. 

Remember that your outfit is part of the interview. If you are attending an interview at a bank or insurance company, use conservative colors, avoid jewelry, prints, and strong perfumes. Contrasting your jacket with your belt can help accentuate your waistline.

10. Be Mindful of Other Applicants

Mindful of other applicants? I bet you had not even given it a thought before. Interviews are a nerve-racking experience, not only for you but for the other applicants too. Be considerate of your fellow employees and be sure to reciprocate the energy that they are putting out. Also avoid profanity, jokes, or anything else that should be considered inappropriate for a work environment.

If you’re waiting in a room with other people, be mindful of them. Don’t make other candidates feel uncomfortable by staring at them. If there are several people and you want to talk amongst yourselves, then feel free to do so. However, try to keep the conversation professional. 

11. Don’t Forget To Smile And Make Eye Contact

A smile and a friendly greeting can go a long way toward making an impression on the employer and all of the other interviewers. Smiling shows that you are polite, friendly, approachable, and confident. Eye contact, on the other hand, will show your interviewer that you are attentive and have good listening skills. 

What Are the Basic Interview Skills?

1. Verbal communication 

In an interview, your verbal communication skills are being assessed. Developing these skills will ensure you make a great first impression on an interviewer. Don’t be afraid to explain yourself and answer questions in as much detail as possible. Furthermore, you should not monopolize the conversation; allow the interviewer to ask additional questions throughout the interview as they arise.

2. Non-verbal communication 

When you’re in a job interview, it’s important to make sure that you have good non-verbal communication skills. These are the things you do without talking. The first thing that comes to mind is your gestures and body language. Make sure to never cross your arms or legs in an interview room, always sit upright, make eye contact with the interviewer, and don’t fixate on any one item in the room.

SEE: Discover helpful tips on how to have better social skills

3. Confidence

The next essential interview skill is confidence. This sounds obvious, but confidence goes beyond being positive and presenting a positive image. It means standing firm to what you know and respecting the fact that you are applying for the position in the first place; it means knowing your material inside out.

4. Research

When you have an upcoming job interview, it’s a great idea to research the company. Look up the company website and read things such as their mission statement, or recent news releases or articles. If your position is research-based, determine what you can learn about their current projects and plans. Think of questions that you might have based on this information.

FAQs

What should you avoid during an interview?

The biggest mistake you can make during an interview is to come across as arrogant or overconfident. You should wear clothing that you feel comfortable in and avoid showing any distracting body piercings, tattoos, or jewelry. Also, avoid being late. Try to be punctual, or even overly early.

How long should you wait to follow up after an interview?

After the interview, you should wait before trying to follow up. Anywhere from 3 to 7 days is acceptable, but generally, 3 days is a sufficient amount of time. If you haven’t heard back in 3 days, then it would be appropriate to send a follow-up email or message.

Final Thoughts 

Practicing your interview skills is the best way to improve them. I highly recommend finding a career coach or someone who has experience interviewing who will listen to your mock interviews and give you feedback. 

In the end, improving your interview skills is just a matter of being prepared and confident. You aren’t alone—you have a great resume, you have the experience you need, and now it’s time to speak up. Don’t be nervous—just be confident. Keep doing what you’re doing. Be honest and be yourself, and everything else will fall into place.

As a job seeker, it is necessary to possess a certain set of skills to stand out from the competitors. Furthermore, employers have certain skills they are looking for in potential applicants as well.

If you wish to bridge the talent gap and market yourself effectively, you need to fully grasp and develop employability skills. For more insight, you can read our article regarding the skills employers seek.

Thanks for reading.