Great interview skills can help you calm your nerves in an interview, and most people need that, because face it – most people don’t find interviews fun.
In fact, I can think of plenty of things you’d probably rather do than interview for a job.
- Get hit by a Mac truck.
- Have a five-hour-long dinner with your mother-in-law.
- Sing in public. Naked.
Ok, maybe not that last one.
But the point is, job interviews can bring out our worst fears and insecurities, when they are supposed to be the place where we shine.
He Made Interview Skills A Priority
However, my guest blogger is not most people. Jordan Hallow is a career coach and consultant at a regional university near Chicago. He is also a content creator on LinkedIn, who focuses on helping people with the job search process.
But that’s not what makes you stand up and notice him.
Here’s the thing that made me do a double-take when I saw him on LinkedIn:
This guy loves interviewing for jobs.
And now that he’s almost 30, he’s had almost fifty interviews. He even interviews for jobs he doesn’t want. Just so he can learn the process. (Kill me now. . .)
He has a thing or two to teach us about successful job interview techniques – the most important of which doesn’t feel like a technique at all.
Here’s Jordan’s story:
Interviewing for Fun and Profit
I knew I wanted to be a career coach after completing my first interview at 16-years old. Since then, I have done nearly 50 interviews. Why? Because I love interviewing. When I completed my first interview, it was a breeze. When I applied for a new job shortly after, it lasted about 5 minutes. I thought to myself, “this is so easy, I answered all of their questions so quickly!”
Then I got rejected.
I thought I did so well and ended up doing poorly. It was a big kick in the gut. 17 year-old me was not good at dealing with rejection. So, I decided I would become the best interviewer possible.
When I got to college, I started applying for as many jobs as I could to get to the interview process and show them what I learned to prove I was the best candidate. I also started to interview for positions within student organizations.
I got rejected again and again. And again. But there was one I did well on.
Learning Interview Skills
I studied my interviews and analyzed common trends, questions, and how I responded. I also thought back to that one interview I did well on.
What worked and what didn’t, and why?
I moved on to a new job and got the offer based on how I dressed. I didn’t stay at that job for long. Instead, I was busy interviewing again. I studied all the common interview questions I had come across before, learned what questions to ask, learned how to do basic research on the companies interviewing me.
I got the job. I had beaten the interview. When I got back on campus, I started applying for more jobs and more student organization positions. I rinsed and repeated from the previous interview.
I kept getting call back after call back. They all wanted to hire me. Every single one was an offer. I was ecstatic.
The Big Revelation
Flash forward a couple of years and college graduation was coming around the corner and I didn’t have anything lined up. I applied for a job working as a distributor for Budweiser. I did a good job in the interview and they wanted to proceed with the next round. It was progress.
But something felt off. I ended up saying I wasn’t interested but I couldn’t figure out what gave me the feeling it wasn’t the right path.
Then a career counselor at my school called me and said they had a friend hiring for a position and could refer me. I walked into that interview quite nervous, something I hadn’t felt in a while, and they could tell.
But, they did something I didn’t expect.
They started asking me about my life and my journey and I found out that I had a lot in common with them. Once we had common ground, the interview was easy. I got a call back in a couple of days and they wanted to hire me.
They felt I did my research and was prepared, but that’s not what they were really drawn to. The interview felt like a conversation. They loved how we talked about life and about one another, like we were long-time friends who hadn’t seen each other in years.
The Key Interview Skill
That’s when the lightbulb went off.
I thought back to the Budwiser interview that felt different. And I had figured it out.
I did well with answering the questions, but I didn’t connect with anyone interviewing. It felt forced and awkward. It wasn’t a conversation and it was over in the blink of an eye. I did well, but didn’t feel good, and it was because there was no connection, no relating to one another.
That’s when I realized interviewing is really all about connecting.
Top Interview Skills
50 interviews later, and after conducting over 20 interviews myself, here are the top interview skills I can share:
- Most interviewers ask common questions, and doing some research can show you what those questions are.
- Interviews are about fit. Someone can tell if you can do the job based on your resume or application. They may ask you some deeper questions but ultimately, they are looking for a connection between you and them.
- Most people don’t prep for interviewing you. They don’t look at the questions until a couple of minutes before calling you or walking into the room you’re in. They can get away with not prepping, you cannot.
- People love when you talk about them and ask them questions, instead of it being the other way around. When you ask them questions, it allows them to talk about themselves and makes them feel important. They’ll remember that.
- You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. You should be gauging if it’s a good fit for you and taking notes of things you do or do not like.
- Interviewers are interviewing you because they want to learn more about you, not someone else. Don’t try to be anyone else besides you. It won’t come off as genuine and it’s easy to tell when someone isn’t being themselves (AKA lying).
- People may be serious in an interview and will expect the same from you. However, it doesn’t hurt to show some personality! Most of the time, when they see you loosen up, they will too.
- MOST IMPORTANT: An interview, when done right, is a conversation. It’s not you doing all the talking, it’s not them doing all the talking. It’s a shared exchange of information. It allows them to get to know you as a person and as a professional and vice versa. These people are about to spend the next ⅓ of their life with you. They will get to know your family, your interests, and much more about you.
The Biggest “Interview Technique” of All
Interviewing skills are learned, but being a conversationalist is natural to us as humans. We are social creatures by nature, use that to your advantage.
Take time before the interview to learn about your interviewer. Ask them questions, allow them to learn more about you before the interview. Try to interact with them at least once before the interview starts. You never know who is going to be making the decision and it shows you care and have a genuine interest in them, and that’s something they’ll remember.
Your Next Interview
The next time you walk into an interview, remember that they are human just like you. Remember to answer the questions and provide examples. More importantly, remember to make it feel like a conversation. Being human isn’t an interview technique, but it’s what will clinch the interview for you.
When you can do that, you’ll be memorable.
When you do that, you’ve got the job.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn and let’s continue the conversation!
If you’re interested in increasing your interview skills, contact Wishingwell Coaching for interview skills coaching.