How To Improve Your Interview Technique

Improving interview technique and gaining interview skills can be tricky. So, here we’ve compiled some expert advice and interview tips for passing any interview.

Video Transcription – Improve Your Interview Technique

Hello, welcome to My name is Richard McMunn and in this training video, I’m going to teach you how to improve your interview technique. Now, before you go along to your job interview you’re going to be concerned about a number of things. One of those will be the types of questions you’re going to get ask. The second would be how you are going to respond to those interview questions and the third will be interview technique. Now, I advise you to spend quite a bit of time working on and improving your interview technique. I have known people who go along to interview before and they haven’t responded that well to the interview questions, but their interview technique has been good that they’ve ended up getting the job that they were after.

Most employers want people to work for them who are enthusiastic, who are motivated and who are going to do a good job for them. Yes, they want to hear some good responses to those interview questions that they’re going to pose; but, they would much rather see someone who’s keen and enthusiastic and also demonstrates really good interview technique. So, work on this in your preparation for your interview and I’m going to teach your how to do that right now.

Develop an Action Plan – Improve Your Interview Technique

Now, first important thing to remember is that you should develop an action plan when preparing for any job interview. Once you’ve done this, you’ll find that all interview you attend the easier they become and you’ll find that your success rate will improve. There are three key things that you should include in your action plan. The first one is researching the company. So, you definitely are going to get asked at the interview “Tell us about the company that you’re applying to join. What do we do? What is our USP? What is our unique selling point?”

Research the Position – Improve Your Interview Technique

You should also research the position that you are applying for and believe it or not, I’ve had people attend interviews before and I’ve said to them: “What does the role involve that you’re applying for?” and some people haven’t got a clue what the role involves. They know the title of the job that there applying for and they think it is x, y, and z. But, they haven’t actually carried out sufficient research.

Now, the way to do that is to get a copy of the person specification and/or the job description for the role you’re applying for and learn them off by heart. Okay. They’re generally short documents so; it won’t take you too long to learn them. But, if the interviewer says to you, “tell us about the role you are applying for.” If you then rattle off the person specification of the job description, you can only score the highest marks possible for that question. And, also work on your interview technique which is the aim of today’s video.

First Impressions, Communication Skills, and Lasting Impressions – Improve Your Interview Technique

The areas that we need to work on: We need to think about creating the first right impression. So, when you walk into the interview room, you generally have 7 seconds to create a positive first impression. I’ll tell you how do that as we progress though the video. You need to concentrate on interview etiquette and manners, so before you go into the interview room you knock on the door. You are polite, yo don’t sit down in the chair until you are invited to do so and, when you do sit down in the chair, then you si upright and you rest the palm of your hands on top of your knees and don’t fidget.

We need to work on effective communication, how you come across. Now, you’ve got two choices: yo can either sit there arched over in the interview chair or you can sit up right, you can be positive and you can be enthusiastic and that should come across in how you speak and how you act during the interview.

Also, you’re creating the right lasting impression. Now, whenever I’ve gone to interviews in the past, regardless of how well I’ve performed during the interview, I will always leave them with a final lasting impression. I’ll say something to them at the end of the interview and I’ll tell you what that is as I progress during this video and you can decide whether or not you want to use that, but I find it to be very effective. So, what are you going to wear to your interview? Now, of course you are going to say to me, “Richard, I don’t need you to tell me what to wear for an interview.” But, I just want to quickly cover it. Make sure that you wear a smart formal outfit. It doesn’t have to be expensive. So, you don’t have to go out and spend 200 pounds on an expensive designer suit.

Dressing for the Part – Improve Your Interview Technique

Many of the high street stores like Marks and Spencer’s or Asda, you can get some smart suits now which are relatively cost effective or cheap. Or, if you can’t afford a suit then speak to a friend or another member of your family and make sure you get a smart formal outfit. Make sure it’s pressed and it’s clean. Clean your shoes. Wear a tie for the gents and also think about the colours, Okay? I would just recommend going along in conservative colours like dark blue, dark grey, black. I’ve seen people come along to interview before with cartoon characters on their ties. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but for an interview, keep it formal. Think about the role that you are applying for.

Now, I have known people to wear a tie that is colour coordinated with the company that they are applying to join. It’s just like a subtle thing that they do. For example, if you were going along for an interview with a company whose logo was blue then you might decide to wear a blue tie. It’s just a nice little touch, a subtle touch or something you can do to help improve how you look during the interview.

Research the Interview Venue – Improve Your Interview Technique

Now, the interview venue, make sure that before you attend the interview venue that you know where you’re going, because the last thing you want to do is turn up late. So, most of us have satellite nowadays, but check that there is no road works before you attend. And, also leave with plenty of time to spare. I would recommend getting to the interview venue at least 20-30 minutes before your interview, and that allows you sit in the car park or the reception, and just compose yourself. Just get yourself ready for the interview.

When You Arrive… – Improve Your Interview Technique

Now, when you do arrive at the interview locations enter into the reception area if there is one and introduce yourself to the reception staff. Remember you are being assessed right from the word go. So, make sure that you’re going to say, “Hello, my name’s Richard. I’m here for an interview at 2:00.” And they’ll say, “Okay. Sit down.” And just sit there and you could maybe read a little bit of company literature.

If it was me attending an interview, I would take along with me the person specification and the job description and I would just sit there and read those documents in reception. Because, I have known some companies to ask the receptionist staff what you would like when you turned up. So, what was Richard like when he arrived? Was he polite? What did he do? And, they could say, “Well, he just say there and he read his job description or something.” So, remember you’re being assessed from the word go.

How to pass your interview

Now, walking into the interview room, when you get called to the interview… before you go in, knock on the door. Go into the interview room, stand by the chair and don’t sit down until you are invited to do so and introduce yourself. I would walk in and say, “Hello, my name is Richard and I’m here for the interview today.” See, you are creating a positive first impression. Don’t forget to smile, as well. Try as much as you can to enjoy the interview experience. Now, that’s easier said than done, because you’re going to be nervous; but, try to smile, remember we are trying to come across in a positive manner. So, don’t sit down in the chair until invited to do so and then settle yourself and rest the palm of your hands on top of your knees.

Interview Manners – Improve Your Interview Technique

Basic interview manners, so let’s take a look. This is basically poor interview technique. I must admit, I’ve only really ever seen one person turn up to an interview and sit in a chair like this…very cocky, very arrogant, but they can do it here. Obviously, first impression appears to be too relaxed. He is, in my opinion, not just smart enough for the interview; his legs are crossed and his feet are no rested on the floor. This displays relaxed and casual manner. His elbow is resting on the corner of the chair there, which to me indicates an over-comforting attitude. And, he’s also wearing jeans and he’s too casually dressed for a formal interview.

So, I could safely say if somebody turned up to an interview and they sat in the interview chair like that, regardless of what they were going to say, I would not give them the job because I just think that it doesn’t create the right, positive impression that I want somebody to who comes along to the job interview.

Whereas this person, he’s sat there, okay. They have got their hands crossed, they’re looking smart. He’s smiling. He’s portraying a comfortable… not over-comfortable manner. His hands are in a stable position which will prevent him from fidgeting. And he can obviously place the palms of his hands on top of his knees. He’s dressed wearing a smart suit. It’s clear that he made an effort in his presentation. So, when somebody comes to an interview I want to make sure that they want this job and they can do that by looking smart and making sure that their well-dressed, that their shoes are clean, and they’re just generally smart and they want to be at the interview. And, obviously he is sitting upright in the interview chair, his feet rest on the floor and he’s not slouching. He portrays himself in a positive manner.

Effective Communication – Improve Your Interview Technique

Now, effective communication’s important. So, when responding to the questions or communicating to the interview panel speak clearly and concisely. Okay? Don’t rush your responses. Make sure you speak in a positive manner. Now, you’re going to get asked two different types of interview questions. The firs on is what I call motivational questions. They are:

  • Q. Why do you want this Job?
  • Q. Why have you applied for it?
  • Q. Do you have any strengths?
  • Q. Do you have any weaknesses?
  • Q. Why should we give this job to you as opposed to someone else who has come along for the interview?

So, they are generally motivational questions.

The other type of question is situational questions. And that kind of question is designed to assess whether you have the kills, attributes, experiences, to carry out specific elements of the job. So, a type of situational question could be:

  • Q. Can you give us an example of when you have worked effectively whilst under pressure?
  • Another one is:

  • Q. Can you give us an example of when you have been flexible in a work related role?
  • Another one is:

  • Q. Can you give us an example of when you have worked effectively as part of a team to achieve a common goal?

The STAR Technique – Improve Your Interview Technique

Now, when responding to those kinds of questions I always teach people to us the STAR technique. So, the important thing is to give the panel evidence of when you already carried out the quality that is being assessed. Because, anybody can sit there and say, “Yes, I would be really good at working in part of a team.” However, providing the panel with evidence of where you have already done that in a previous role is a different thing all together.

How to improve your interview technique

You can do that by structuring your responses to the questions using the STAR technique. Start of telling the interview panel what the situation was. Explain the situation. Then move on and tell them what the task was that you had to do. Okay. So, what was the task? Then tell them what action you took and what action other people took. Finally, tell them what the result was following your actions. Always try and make sure that the result is positive. Okay? So the outcome of what you did was positive.

If you follow that method all of your responses will be structured in a concise and logical manner, because you will be assessed against effective communication. Now, I mentioned earlier on about created a lasting positive impression. I’ve used this before at the end of the interview. It’s always worked quite well. So, they’re going to say to you at the end, “Have you got any questions that you want to ask?” And, of course you can ask them a couple of questions but once you finish asking question they’ll say to you, “Do you have anything else that you want to say?” And, I will finish off by saying that:

“I just wanted to say thank you for inviting me for the interview today and I really enjoyed the experience and I have learned a tremendous amount about your company organization. If I am successful then I promise you that I will work very hard in the role and I will do all that I can to surpass you expectations.”

So, if you say that to them and say it in a genuine and honest way, that’s the last thing that they will remember you for. So, when they come to mark you when you’ve left the interview room they’ll remember you for that final positive statement. So, that’s a good thing to say at the end of the interview.

Asking Questions – Improve Your Interview Technique

Now, what I would quickly do is just go back one because I said to you that the interview panel is going to say, “If you have gotten any question for the interview panel?” Of course, it’s always good to ask one or two questions. My advice is just to keep it to two at the most.

So, what is a good question? First of all, questions to avoid are question that relate to sick leave. So, sick leave, to relate to annual leave, because you should know that before you attend. Also, in relation to pay, don’t ask questions in relation to pay unless you’ve been specifically asked to do that during the interview. Some just think about how you can put yourself across in a positive manner with questions.

I would say something like, “Yes, I’ve got one question. Whilst waiting to find out if I’ve been successful, is there any further information or documentation that I read to learn more about the company and the organization.” That should that you still want learn whilst you’re waiting to find out whether you’re successful.

Another good question you can ask them is something like: If I am successful and I get to work in the organization, will there be the opportunity for development and progress one I’ve learned the role that I will have been employed within? So, you’re demonstrating to them that you want to stay with that organization for a long period of time and that you’re keen and enthusiastic to develop within that company. So, those are two really good questions you can use.

Conclusion – Improve Your Interview Technique

You should now know the key tips for passing any interview. If you want even more advice and top tips, check out How to Pass an Interview.