It is important for people to realize that interviewing is a skill that can be learned. The ability to give a good interview is not something that you either have or you don’t have. Instead, it is a set of specific skills that you need to practice, just like you practice any other talent. If you devote some time to improving your interviewing ability, it will pay off with better interviews that are less stressful for you and also with more job offers.
Here is part one of the skills that you need to master in order to be an interviewing pro.
The First Impression
You have always heard how important a first impression is, but when it comes to interviews, it is doubly so. Studies have shown that interviewers make most of their decision about whether to hire someone within the first few minutes of the interview. That means that by the time you have taken a seat, chatted for a moment and answered the first question, the interviewer has already decided whether or not you are a likely candidate. I am not saying that the rest of the interview doesn’t matter. Instead, you just need to realize the importance of that first impression.
How do you make a good impression? Your greeting is the very first part. You need to stand up if you are sitting, approach the interviewer, smile and shake hands. Introduce yourself using your full name. This is an excellent greeting. You are showing that you are not too timid to shake hands (if you are timid, then practice at home until you’re not) and also that you present yourself well. This is the best way to get the interview off on the right foot.
The Benefit of Small Talk
As you are greeting the interviewer, returning to his/her office, etc, go ahead an initiate small talk. Try to find something to complement about the building or about the interviewer’s office. If you see pictures of the interviewer’s kids on their desk, then comment on how cute they are or what a happy family they seem to be. You are making small talk for two very important reasons. First, it helps you to relax. You begin to find common ground with the interviewer and you are able to feel more comfortable before you are actually answering the important questions. The second reason is something that a lot of people don’t know about. There are studies that show that interviewers have a tendency to hire people that they feel are similar to them. We are naturally pulled towards people who seem to have the same point of view as we do or who seem to somehow be walking the same path as we are in life. The interviewer probably does not even realize that this is a tendency and those who are aware of it will fight against it because they are wary of discrimination. However, it is still beneficial for you to try to establish this rapport and “sameness” with the interviewer. You will feel more comfortable and the interviewer will feel drawn to you and more willing to consider you as a candidate.