Cracking the code of interviews can feel like an impossible task. We’ve all experienced a great interview only to be greeted by weeks of silent rejection. What did we do wrong? What did we do right? While it may seem like a lottery, we can do things (and not do other things) that help put the odds in our favor.
Don’t overuse Buzzwords and Industry Jargon
When you ramble off a litany of buzzwords you actually seem like someone that knows these words are important, but not what they actually mean. This will make you seem like an amateur trying to infiltrate the world of professionals. Instead…
Do Simplify Complex Topics
When you take a complex topic, break it down, and explain it with simple words, you’ll show to the interviewer many valuable skills. For one, you show them that you truly know the topic, to its core. Secondly, you’ll also show them that you have the ability to explain these things to others in an easy to understand way. This means that you’re great at connecting with customers, clients, and co-workers alike.
Don’t Overuse the “I” words
Me, Myself, and I are dangerous words to overuse. They make you seem completely involved in yourself and only yourself. This is very bad because the game of business is a team game. You need to escape the idea of yourself while still showing your own value. It can be hard, but using these “I” words too much will not get it done. Instead…
Do use Us, We, and Our
Using these words will show you are a part of the team. When you explain the skills your team has honed, you not only take credit for them, but you also show how important teamwork is without specifically saying it. A careful balance of teamwork and your involvement within that team will be the best of both worlds.
Don’t Rattle off Skills
Everyone has skills. Skills, while important, become invisible if that’s all you offer. 99% of all interviews and resumes are just a laundry list of skills. We want to stand out from the other candidates. How?
Do Convey the Value of your Skills
This is what makes you shine on a resume and in an interview. Instead of listing your skills, express why they are valuable. How do your skills give you worth? How do they make you a valuable candidate for this position? Each person and each skill is different, find the right narrative that imparts value.
Don’t use Fillers
Everyone has a unique way of filling in little gaps in sentences. The biggest offenders are the things like ‘um’, ‘like’, ‘yeah’, and ‘you know’. No matter what you use as a filler, you need to stop. It breaks up your narrative. It ruins your presentation of yourself. And, while most people use them, it makes you seem less sure. How can you stop using Fillers? Practice. Practice…
Do be Clear
Clear and concise when you are talking is absurdly important. When you speak fluidly, without fillers, and clearly people will enjoy listening to what you say, even if what you’re saying is less than stellar. How do we clear up our speech? By telling a story. For each comment and response, have a path you want to follow. Hit each point clearly and simply; without using extra words. This may seem terse, but in truth you’ll be clear and confident.
It’s easy to get excited when someone is asking you questions or explaining something you already know. When your interviewer asks you a question and you’re about to knock it out of the park, it’s real easy to get excited. It’s true. But you cannot let that excitement force you to interrupt them. Allow the interviewer to fully express their question or thought, then you can respond.
Do Listen Patiently
When you listen patiently, you’re able to avoid interrupting, but also fully answer their question. A lot of interviewees tend to only partially answer questions because they were too busy coming up with an answer instead of listening. Listen patiently, reflect on what they said, and then answer. Don’t do too much at once. Take your time. A moment of silence followed by a great, clear answer is much better than half an answer said very fast.
Don’t be Monotone or Over the Top
Speaking in a monotone, no matter what you are saying, will be perceived as boring and uninteresting. Speaking Over the Top will seem like a cry for attention. These extremes are almost always taken negatively so you should avoid them at all costs.
Do use Appropriateness
Sometimes it will be appropriate to be a little monotone. Sometimes it will be appropriate to be a little excited. Be real. Be human, just steer clear of the extremes. Allow yourself to show emotion when appropriate. But, when those times are not present, be steady.
There are many reasons to not lie at an interview. A good interviewer will probably be able to tell if you are lying, for one. Secondly, lying can put you in a position that you are not qualified for. This can cause a lot of problems down the road for both you and your company. And lastly, lying becomes you. Sooner or later it will become who you are.
Do Tell the Truth
Be genuine in your answers and your representation of yourself. A person that is wholly genuine is a person people are drawn towards. Your interviewer will see it. It can be easy to want avoid a hard question, but it takes real guts to answer it. So answer it. And be genuine. Much like lying, being genuine becomes you. Sooner or later it will become who you are.
These Do’s and Don’ts will help you avoid making any interview gaffs while effectively expressing your values in a honest and enjoyable way. Getting an interview is great, but if you struggle taking it home, these tips can be exactly what you need to start getting offer the careers you deserve.