One of the things that is most intimidating in a job interview is not knowing for sure what the right things to say are. How do you introduce yourself? How should you walk the line between humble and confident without stumbling into arrogance? What’s appropriate to talk about before the interview starts, is it ok to start selling yourself before the formal questions begin? With so much to think about, it’s not surprising that we always end up so nervous and stressed in these situations.
So, to help you the next time you are preparing for a job interview, here’s what you need to say at each stage of it:
Before your interview
This is when you’re at your most nervous, but you can settle yourself down and make a great first impression by being proactive. Instead of anxiously waiting to be asked a question, take the initiative and tell them how excited you are to be there, as this enthusiasm will impress them and make you stand out. This is also a good opportunity to get in your elevator pitch – a short summary of why you think you’d be right for the role.
Telling them what they want to hear before they’ve even started asking questions is a powerful way to build a connection with them and if you can also slip in a mention of a recent company development or achievement that you’ve seen, which will demonstrate your interest in the role and commitment to researching before you arrived.
During the interview
At this stage, you’re more at the mercy of the questions being asked, and sometimes you can get tripped up by something you hadn’t expected. However, it’s still worth having ideas in mind of what you want to say. An important message to get across whenever you get the chance is to demonstrate to them how you can help them, showing what value you can bring to meet their specific needs.
Whenever possible, back this up with evidence of your experience, using keywords and phrases from the job description. All of this will make the connection in their minds between what they need and how you can fulfil that need. It’s also key in this situation to show that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying and you can use active listening techniques like asking clarifying questions. For example, ‘so what you’re saying is…?’ which shows that you’re engaged.
At the end of the interview
When the interview comes to an end, you’ll get the chance to ask your questions. Don’t mistake this opportunity as optional. You may feel like you know everything you need to know about the company and want the job, but this is another chance to impress. Asking them their thoughts on you as a candidate gives you an insight into your chances and shows them how much you care about the role.
Even after the interview, you can still communicate with the hiring manager by emailing them to thank them for the opportunity, point out anything you didn’t get the chance to mention at the moment and send them through any evidence you mentioned. So, the next time you have an interview, you know exactly what to say to make sure you leave them with the best possible impression of you.
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