Job Interviews and Communication Skills
In the work world, communication skills are critical in many situations. These include going on job interviews, asking questions when you need help on an unfamiliar project, training other employees, and dealing with customers. Job interviews like Lisa's occur every day. People fail to get hired because they lack effective communication skills. They simply don't know how to handle an interview. "It's 90 percent chemistry," explains executive recruiter Ron Pascel. "You need to get the interviewer to like you. Good interviewees will gauge the interviewers and figure out how to fit into their organisation." How do you accomplish these goals? Some tips from career counselors and human resource managers are:
Do Your Homework
Whenever you write, it's essential to know your reader. And if you stand up and give a talk, you should always know your listeners. This rule also applies in a job interview. Find out as much as you can about the organisation where you're interviewing. An interviewer will almost always ask if you know something about the company. "Before you even shake an interviewer's hand, find out what the company does," advises Alicia Montecalvo in Career World magasine. "Talk to friends or visit the library's reference section. Be sure the interviewer knows you've done your homework."
Know Your Purpose
You go to a job interview to persuade a company to hire you. But you can accomplish this task only by impressing interviewers with what you can do for their organisations. In short, take the "you" approach. In other words, ask yourself, "What can I, as the interviewee, do for you, the employer?" Your purpose is to sell the employer on you. It's not enough to simply tell an employer you'll work hard, as Lisa did. Everyone is expected to do that-you have to do more. "Know the job and the company," advises career counselor Rozeanne Burt. "Then match what you found out to your skills." If it's a marketing job for a toy company, explain how the courses you took in school taught you about selling to the consumer market. "You should also show your competencies in more than one sphere," Burt says. For example, your high grades in business courses may be one indication of your abilities. But you might also point out that you did volunteer work for a homeless shelter and helped them raise money. This also shows your marketing skills.
Watch Your Body Language
"Some interviewees look uninterested and don't pay attention when I talk," explains human resources director Debbie Berggren. "They look around my office. Consistent eye contact is important." Communication is not only verbal. It also involves body language. If you don't look at an interviewer when he or she shakes your hand, you make a very poor first impression. Eye contact is also necessary during the interview. Looking at your hands, twisting your ring, or looking out the window communicates a lack of interest in the interviewer and the job. According to Jobs on the Web.com (http://www.jobsontheweb.com), image consultants stress that you should strive for a classy, business-like appearance at a job interview. Your body posture is an important part of this. If you recall, Lisa slouched in the chair during her interview. This suggested that she was not sharp and alert. Experts recommend that you sit up straight and lean slightly forward. This posture shows interviewers that you're listening closely to their questions and are ready to answer them.
"You can't overprepare for an interview," explains Ron Pascel. His firm carefully goes over the questions job seekers are likely to be asked and helps prospective employees develop effective answers. "You want to be in control of the interview," he says. "You want to be in the driver's seat." It often helps to rehearse the interview, just as you'd rehearse a talk in front of an audience. Have a friend play the role of the interviewer and ask the types of questions posed to Lisa. For example, when the interviewer wants to know whether you have any questions about the job or the company, be prepared to say more than Lisa did. Ask about the types of projects you'll likely receive on the job or the growth potential and the opportunity to assume greater responsibilities. This shows that you've thought about the position and your own career goals.
By following these tips, you can usually improve your interviewing skills. You'll go into an interview feeling more confident and you'll communicate this confidence to the interviewer. This will make it more likely that you will be offered a job.