How to Communicate Effectively in a Job Interview

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Being able to effectively communicate is a skill that enhances many areas in life. In a job interview, clear communication is of the utmost importance, as employers are looking for people who can seamlessly fit into the workplace and perform well under pressure.

Practice Ahead of Time

  • Spend an hour ahead of time listing positive traits about yourself. Prepare to highlight some of these attributes through brief stories in your interview. Also prepare answers to questions you expect to receive, and prepare questions of your own to ask about the potential employer.

  • Conduct a mock interview with a friend or business associate to evaluate your communication skills. If there are topics that the interviewer didn't fully understand, work on ways to make them clearer for your real interview.

  • Speak while looking in a mirror. Pay attention to any nervous habits, such as excessive hand movement, poor eye contact or awkward long pauses.

Communicate Effectively and Confidently During Your Interview

  • Listen carefully to the interviewer. This will help you understand exactly what you are being asked and how you should answer.

  • Show poise at all times by taking your time before you answer. A short pause won't make a bad impression as long as it is used to gather your thoughts for a clear and concise answer. For example, if the interviewer asks what projects you worked on, take time to select the ones most relevant to the position.

  • Avoid long, run-on answers by asking for clarification if you don't understand a certain question. Tailor your answer to what the interviewer wants to know, working in examples of how you accomplished certain tasks or solved difficult problems.

  • Tell the truth. If the information you give in an interview is not consistent with your resume, you will not likely be offered a job. Emphasize your strong points, but don't embroider the truth or exaggerate your importance at past jobs. Your potential employer may contact past employers.

  • Confirm that your interviewer has received all the answers that he needs. For example, ask, "Did I answer your question completely?"

  • Take some initiative. Ask a few questions of your own at the end of a job interview, using the questions you prepared. This shows that you are just as interested in the position as the interviewer may be in hiring you. Also show your enthusiasm directly by saying outright how much you would enjoy working for the employer.

  • Remind potential employers how they can contact you if they have any follow-up questions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Control your nerves by taking a deep breath and being yourself. The number one reason most people think they fail at job interviews is because of nerves. Keep in mind that no matter how good you are in an interview, there are outside factors that have nothing to do with you that may still prevent you from getting the job.
  • Online job search services often contain helpful interview advice, as well as active job leads.
  • Never answer questions that are prohibited by U.S. Federal law. These include inquiries into your marital status, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or physical disabilities.

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