Before interviewing for a position, most people brush up on the corporation’s history and the nature of the job. However, conveying your knowledge to the interviewer is a matter related entirely to interview techniques. Similarly, what questions are asked and in what order is a technique of the interviewer. Because interviews can make or break the hiring decision, the importance of interview techniques cannot be understated.
Verbal Interview Techniques
Interview techniques are any method used by either party to extrapolate or provide information. These techniques are verbal and non-verbal. A verbal interview technique is conveyed through the tone and inflection of the question or answer. For instance, the interviewee might use the technique of spinning a inherently negative question into a positive personality trait: When asked about the person’s worst trait, he might answer a positive one such as, "I work too hard."
Non-Verbal Interview Techniques
Samuel Trull explains in a Harvard Business Review article that interviewers are not only concerned with factual statements, but take into account other cues. A non-verbal technique uses haptic cues such as eye contact or posture to convey a message. Good eye contact, looking directly at the interviewer, conveys confidence and authority. A strong handshake relays the same positive characteristics. Appropriate hand gestures, sitting upright, conservative clothing and an alert facial expression are other non-verbal interview techniques that exude charisma.
Mirroring is another non-verbal interview skill: John Middleton and Ken Langdon, authors of “Land Your Dream Job,” state that replicating the body movement, posture and tone of voice of the interviewer could make her feel more comfortable with you because of the likeness between you and her.
Studying and incorporating interview techniques give the hiring team a positive impression about your ability to handle the job. Though the staff value a candidate’s education, prior work experience and other credentials, companies seek candidates who are a "good fit" for the firm. Being a good fit is a nebulous term that is conveyed by the personality of the job candidate. In turn, using interview techniques is one of the best ways to show you will blend in with the style and personality of the company.
Overusing interview techniques can make you appear disingenuous. Though some techniques such as delivering a strong handshake and speaking clearly are appropriate in all situations, other techniques should be modified to fit the specific scenario. For instance, discussing unrelated, lighthearted topics such as sports and the weather might be appropriate with some interviewers, but not others. Pearl Berman and Susan Shopland, authors of the book “Interviewing and Diagnostic Exercises for Clinical Counseling Skills,” warn that excessive mirroring comes off as mocking and could cause alienation.
Interview techniques are important, but use these tips in tandem with insightful words: Review the corporate culture and mention the ways you are a good fit, write down the full names of the interviewers for the purpose of thank-you notes and follow-ups and rehearse how your skills and experience match the position.
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