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  • Writer's pictureMillree Williams

Enhancing Your Job Interview Skills

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words. Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Under the best of circumstances, looking for a new job and interviewing are extremely challenging, and can be really unnerving for many. Perfecting the resume. Navigating the search engine filters. Tweaking cover letters. Scrolling through myriad online job descriptions. Working with headhunters and search consultants. Zoom interviews. Lighting and presentation.

During this pandemic, it can be even more grueling. The competition is keen. You’ve had some near-misses, and can’t figure out why. With a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, you have landed the interview.

Presuming you have the right expertise, how can you distinguish yourself in a field of qualified candidates?

I believe that adding a couple simple techniques can immeasurably enhance your interviews. Here are two techniques that I recommend practicing:

  • Authentic, active listening

  • Asking impactful questions

Incorporating these two skills can also help you shift the focus from what “they” need in a candidate to what “you” need for the right fit; it can be an important paradigm shift. And, it is in this shift where you can create distinction.

Having a set of standard responses demonstrates that you have prepared for the interview and are exploring ways to align your skills and experiences with the needs of the position. However, being more “present” in the interview, listening actively better connects you with the interviewer and what the interviewer may really be looking for. Some examples of active listening are:

  • Brief verbal affirmation – “I really understand that challenge because….”

  • Mentioning similar situations – “That sounds like a situation I faced before….”

  • Summarize questions – “I believe what you are asking is….is that right?”

Asking impactful questions forces the interviewer to actually think, rather than just run down the list of standard questions. It gives you the opportunity to take more ownership of the interview process, thereby showing more of your value as a potential team member. The following types of questions to pose in an interviews will help you dig in a bit more deeply:

  • How will hiring for this position help move you forward?

  • What’s the best outcome you can imagine in this process or for this role?

  • On a scale of 0-10, how does this position get you closer to improving the productivity of your team/organization?

Willekop Consulting and Coaching offers a very creative interview prep package to prepare for your upcoming interview. This plan will help you shift the interview paradigm to something that also works for you. Click here for more information.

Simply Said is a series of occasional views on issues of communications strategy and business and life coaching.

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