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Public Speaking Tip 97: Job Interview? Here Are the TOP 3 WAYS to Ace the Conversation

Congratulations! You’ve Got a Job Interview

That’s a major accomplishment, and you deserve to celebrate your success.

With many job interviews now happening on video calls, there’s an added layer of technical challenge that you should prepare for in advance. But the basic dynamic of job interviews — one person talking to another — doesn’t change because you’re on video.

Here are three things you need to know to master that basic dynamic.

1. Job Interviews Aren’t Really About You

It’s true that, at the interview, you’re going to be discussing your skills, your successes, and your job history. So practice talking about those things until you can discuss them with ease; but don’t be fooled into thinking they’re what the interview is about.

What is the interview really about? It’s about what you can do for them.

This is why you don’t need to defend or sell your qualifications during an interview: They already know you’re qualified. 

If you weren’t qualified, they wouldn’t be talking to you!

What you do need to sell during an interview is the idea that you and your qualifications are a good fit for their culture and their needs.

And how do you do that?

Surprisingly… by listening.

2. For Job Interview Success, Be a Good Conversationalist

Back in the day, before everything was entertainment, people used to amuse themselves by having conversations. Conversation was considered an art form, and folks who were good at having them were called “good conversationalists.”

Who were these good conversationalists? Were they the smartest people in the room? The most attractive? More interesting than the rest of us?

It turns out that good conversationalists are simply people that other people enjoy talking to.

And why do we enjoy talking to them? Because they make us feel interesting!

Think about it: Is it fun to talk to someone who thinks they know everything, and can’t wait to show us how superior and smart they are? Or would you rather talk to someone who’s interested in what you know, and listens carefully to your every word?

Most of us would choose that second type — and job interviewers feel the same!

Again, Interview Like Yourself… No, Really! will walk you through the specific ways to prepare for, and have, a good conversation, but if you can be genuinely interested in your interviewer, you’re already halfway to success.

3. To Have a Great Interview Conversation, Do Your Homework!

The best conversations are informed conversations. Imagine that someone comes up to you and says,

How are you?

Now imagine that same person saying,

Hey, it’s great to see you! How did your trip to Switzerland go?

One of these people has a generic interest in your life. The other bothered to remember what you told them in a previous conversation.

In a job interview, you want to be that second, well-informed person. You want to be able to ask intelligent questions that demonstrate your interest in your interviewer and the company he or she represents.

Again, this isn’t hard to do with a little bit of preparation — and you’ll be more likely to do that homework now that you understand why it’s important.

Practice being interested rather than being interesting.

Job Interviews are Just Like Real Life

When you think about it, job interviews aren’t that different from other conversations you’ve had in your life. Just remember that,

  • It isn’t all about you (even if it seems that way!),
  • People appreciate your interest in them, and
  • The more you know, the more genuine interest you can show your interviewer.

Keep this in mind as you prepare and practice, and you’ll be ready for job interview success!

For More Information

My book, Interview Like Yourself…No, Really!, will show you in detail how to prepare for the interview, and so will this job interview checklist.

And when the interview is over, be sure to write a killer thank you note!

Image by Nik MacMillan | Unsplash

Buy 100 Top Public Speaking Tips: The Book!

In 25 years of speaker coaching, I’ve helped my individual speaker coaching clients develop their strengths and skills to become authentic and effective communicators.

Along the way, I’ve developed tips for everything from small talk to speaking up in meetings, from managing fear to making an impact.

And now, I’ve shared it all in 100 Top Public Speaking Tips: The Book. This beautifully designed PDF booklet is searchable, clickable, and categorized, so that you can find what you need, instantly.


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