The holiday season is a good time to take stock of your interviewing techniques, even if you are in a job but looking for a more challenging opportunity in the near future. If you are still looking for the perfect gig, it is worth assessing your communication skills for those confronting interview scenarios.

Interview stress is usually caused by thinking of the meeting like an exam. They are not, interviews are an opportunity to reveal what you already know. So instead of self-obsessing get clear headed and understand the people and business you are meeting so you can tell them exactly what they need to hear.

A refresher on the basics:

1. Research

Start with the company’s website. Make Google your friend and learn about their history, products and services, locations, partners and recent news.
Find out about their competitors and the factors that are shaping the market that they are involved in.
Finally research the person you are meeting, their work history and any news about them. Linked In is a good place to start.

2. Understand the role

Make sure you understand the scope of the role and how it fits into an organisation. From that basis you can ask informed questions and present your most relevant experience and skills.

3. The curly questions

Think about your proudest achievements, biggest challenges and mistakes and how you dealt with them.

4. Ask now

Don’t be afraid to come armed with your own questions. You need to know if the job and the company fits you too.

5. Don’t be late

It is bad form to be late and rushing will play havoc with your already elevated stress levels.
If you’re going to be late, make sure you let the interviewer know.

Don’t be too early either!!!

6. Bring your manners

First impressions count and while obvious to some, stressful situations often cause people to forget basic etiquette. Shake hands firmly, look them in the eye and smile. Stand up when they come into the room.

7. Work on your charm offensive

Spark casual conversation to break the ice before and after interviews. Be friendly to everyone you meet, from the receptionist to others in the waiting room. Remember and use people’s names when you talk to them, it builds intimacy. If an interviewer is leaning forward to engage you and you’re sitting back with your arms crossed, you are not creating rapport.

8. The money issue

Never ask questions on remuneration unless it’s the final interview and/or the interviewer raises the subject. Be clear about your required package and your minimum package.

9. Show your enthusiasm

An employer is looking for people that really want to work for their company – not just get a job. Passion, enthusiasm and understanding about the company and business go a long way to ensuring you are offered the role. You will be ahead of your competition.

10. Get clarity on the process

At the end of the interview, ask for confirmation on understanding and feedback on what the next steps are if you are in the running. Questions could include –
· Do you think my background is suitable for the role?
· Is there anything I can clarify?
· How do I compare to other candidates you’ve spoken to?
· What comes next in the process?
· Who makes the final hiring decision?

Good luck in your job search – we’re here to help you too.