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Four Things You Must Do to Excel in the Interview


Interviewing well is a matter of preparing well and practicing to achieve proficiency.  The hiring manager or HR manager will initially assess candidates based on their ability and knowledge. After that, the ability to fit in the company culture and get along with other team members is equally important.  The interviewer is carefully scrutinizing each candidate’s behavior during phone and face-to-face interviews.  An experienced interviewer has the instincts to sense when a candidate is a match.


Beyond meticulous preparation and practicing your interview skills, there are four things that you must do to excel in the job interview. 


Foster Trust & Credibility

When you are interviewing, make every effort to be gracious and considerate. Arrive on time, express your appreciation for the opportunity and dress professionally. Performing research about the company and the job opportunity shows that you are serious about the interview.  These are simple ways that you can foster trust and credibility. 

Build Rapport

The first step to build rapport with another person is good eye contact and a firm (not finger-numbing) handshake.  Follow the lead of the interviewer.  Wait to sit until the interview is seated or asks you to be seated. Model your behavior to match the interviewers.  If the interviewer has a rapid speech cadence, keep up.  Soon you will have a comfortable rhythm in your conversation. Don’t take the behavior matching to the point of mimicry.  Simply do your part to create a pleasant rapport in which information is easily exchanged.

Stay Focused and On Point

Have you ever experienced a conversation in which the other person is frequently checking their phone or looking at their watch? This gives you a clear message that the person has a serious problem staying focused or they have no interest in your conversation. Dismiss all distractions and stay in the moment. For some it helps to job short notes while staying engaged in the conversation. Interviewers find note-taking acceptable. Avoid the trap of thinking about what you wish to say next. Instead, focus intently on what the interviewer is saying and speak after the interviewer has completed the statement or question. Focus and intentional listening requires discipline.  If this is a weak area for you, practice until it is a strong area.


Communicate Your Value

The first three items are mostly about not failing the interview due to poor social and communication skills.  This item is about selling yourself.  To communicate your value, you must first know your value relative to the hiring employer’s needs.  Create interview talking points.  Commit to sharing these points to demonstrate that you are an ideal candidate for the job.  If you need help crafting talking points, talk to your resume writer about creating an interview talking points document or a more comprehensive interview prep program.


The Bottom Line

When you arrive at the interview, take the attitude that this is your job to lose.  Well-honed interpersonal skills and attention to details are helpful. Follow the above four basic elements to make a positive impression and to prove yourself as a match during your next interview.

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