Interview Skills

The interview skills of both interviewee and interviewer influence not only the effectiveness, insight-fulness and outcome of the interview, but also the degree to which a lack of these skills by one participant will test those of the other.

Hence, preparation for an interview should include being ready for an inept, unskillful interview, e.g., by having contingency plans for coping with or guiding a clumsy, off-focus or awkward interview back on track.

In any case, it is of critical importance to have an integrated, balanced and consistent skill set, e.g., to be able to ask as well as answer questions impressively, to complement verbal responses with appropriate body language, and to be well prepared for the unexpected as well as the expected.

Prominent among the requisite interview skills are those that must be exercised before the interview, in addition to those applied during it, e.g., preliminary research skills used to develop and eventually display a good understanding of the employer organization or of the job candidate.
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Landing an interview is only the first step in obtaining a job offer. Developing interviewing skills before the interview can make the difference between success and failure. Several of the most common skills to develop for a successful interview include research skills, self-descriptive skills, relaxation skills and etiquette.

A well-informed interviewee is a strong interviewee. Several bits of knowledge should be researched and memorized before the interview. These include organizational information such as the primary function of the company, the company's size, the state of its business, and the role of the vacant position within the organization. Understanding the goals and values of the company can help give context to how an applicant's qualifications can help benefit the company.

The skill of self-description is an important ability for any interview. Most interviewers will want to know how an applicant sees himself or herself as a professional and how that person would respond to varying situations. Understanding one's own motivations, strengths and weaknesses, goals, and skills and knowing how to present these attributes in a positive way give the interviewer confidence that the applicant can offer the company what it is looking for.

Learning to relax can be an important aspect of the interview because it allows for the projection of a friendly, capable and confident demeanor. Excessive nervousness damages confidence, which, in turn, affects body language and speech. Practicing breathing exercises and following a loose script may help ease any anxiety about the unknown.

As with candidates, employers must develop competency in developing and executing effective interviews. Use our resources related to corporate recruiting and hiring best practices to help develop your knowledge of effective interview techniques, modern psychological assessment, and employee recruitment and selection.
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