Hey y’all I’m back with probably the biggest interview tip I could ever give you. You could be the sweetest, smartest, most hardworking person in the world, but if you don’t have this one skill, I’m really sorry, but you likely won’t advance in the interviewing process. You have heard it before, but I can’t stress the importance of it enough.
And so I tell you that, COMMUNICATION SKILLS are EVERYTHING. Now, before your two-second attention span closes this window because you’re like, yeah Kristin I already knew that, realize that there is in fact a LOT more to this communication word than you might realize. And you not being seriously self-aware and socially aware of each of the five points below could very well cost you the job. I have seen it many times.
So without further ado, let’s examine the most critical parts of communication:
1. Your energy
If you have naturally low energy, I implore you, I beg you, to do whatever it takes to up your energy level, even if slightly out of your comfort zone. If you lose someone in the first few minutes, it will be close to impossible to get them back.
Try your best to be dynamic and bring feeling into your conversation. The reality is, it’s you and a handful of other people interviewing. You need to come to the table with a level of professional energy that can outpace your competition.
2. Your flow
It ain’t just for yoga class people. Strive for really good flow in your explanations. Think chronologically high level with the ability to dive into detail where needed.
Chronological, high level points will make it easy for the interviewer to follow you. It shows them you know how to get the most important points across quickly. Then, dive into detail when asked for specific examples. This will validate to the interviewer that you’ve actually worked through your situations and can recap your processes and learnings for someone else as well.
3. Your questions
While there’s always a balance between quality and quantity, please at least have some questions put together for your interviewers. A lack of questions will make us think either you don’t care, or perhaps you’re not as well-versed in the subject area as you say you are.
Very important though, really think through how what you’re asking might be perceived. For example, I cringe when I open it up for questions and the candidate goes, “what are the working hours?” Seriously, that’s your first question for me? Now there could be a legit reason you’re asking, i.e. you have kids to pick up at 4pm, but you need to ask questions demonstrating your interest in the role first, then you can ask logistical questions later.
4. Your tone
Be very, very careful with this one. I’ve seen really good candidates mess this part up in the interview and instantly lose the hiring team’s trust. If you have a tendency to let annoyance or sarcasm creep into your conversational tone, make sure you check that, and any potentially demeaning words in your vocab, at the door.
Your ultimate goal for this interview is to remain as positive as possible. Now sure, you will be asked about difficult situations. And you most certainly should answer them truthfully. But you can do this by explaining your difficult situation in a more neutral tone, and then wrap it up by explaining what you learned from that particular situation.
5. Your ability to read the room.
Otherwise known as social awareness. Since nobody can be perfect, the next best thing you can do is at least learn to read your audience and adjust accordingly. If you notice any of your interviewers' eyes start to glaze over, or they lean back in their chairs and sort of slouch, then you’re not talking succinctly or dynamic enough. So try to make your points a little clearer and a little faster. If you notice your interviewers suddenly raising eyebrows or looking uneasy, something you said is causing them to question their trust in you. Don’t be negative and consider adjusting your tone.
At the end of the day, you should always be you. Just remember that technical skills can be taught a lot faster than communication skills can. So as you prep for your interview and gather your technical skills together, use the five points above to make sure you can communicate your experiences to your interviewers as best as possible.
Good luck and as always, comment below if you have any questions!