Three Easy Tips for Improving Your Interview Skills

So you have a great cover letter and résumé, check! You’ve applied for that great new job, check! You get an email or call from the company for an onsite or virtual interview, check! But maybe you are little nervous about what to expect, or it’s been a while since you’ve had an onsite interview, or you’ve never had a virtual interview. Here are three easy tips to assist you with improving your interview skills.

Practice with a Friend

Set up a time with a good friend or family member who will give honest feedback to practice your interviewing skills. Bring your résumé, dress the part and have them to ask you questions (at least three to five), just like you would have in a real interview. Practice your introduction and handshake, distribute your résumé and then sit face to face, across a table (or two chairs put together) and do a mock interview. After the session has finished, have your friend or family member to give you an honest critique. For example, ask them if you provided eye contact, gave a strong handshake, listened to the interviewer or talked too much.

Also be ready in case you are part of a panel interview. Panel interviews require that you are really focused, engaged and flexible, as you will be asked questions by various people, from the HR manager to the hiring manager and their team. Be ready to provide a brief summary of who you are and your career goals. Practice your elevator speech and be concise. It’s okay to lean forward to demonstrate interest in the position, especially in a panel interview.

For more advice on practicing your interview skills, check out the free tutorial on GCF Learn Free.

Do Your Homework and Read up on the Company

One of the questions I always ask candidates during an interview is, “Tell me something about Goodwill that you read on our website?” I’m not trying to put anyone on the spot, but I do want to see if the candidate knows about my organization. If you want to be a part of a company that you are interviewing for, it is expected that you know some basic facts about the organization.

Visit their website, read up on their mission, vision, values (do they give back to the communities they serve?), locations (are they nationally based or internationally based?), reputation (have they been in the media for good or bad things?) — know before you go! If you want to stand out from the rest of the other applicants, do your homework and research; it will also help you to answer the interviewers’ questions.

Have 2 to 3 Questions Ready to Ask the Interviewer or Panel

We want you to ask us questions, as the interview is an interactive process. So to get the most out of the time you have with the interviewer or panel, have some questions ready. Here are some of my favorite questions:

  • What have you enjoyed most about working here? This question gives the candidate a peak into the company culture, it relaxes the interviewer and it can provide insight into what makes this organization a great place to work.
  • What are the most important things you’d like to see someone accomplish in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job? This question allows the interviewer to really dig deep into what they want to see you accomplish, projects to work on and tasks to be completed.  It also shows that you are focused on getting this position and that you are ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
  • Where do you see this company in the next few years? This question lets me know that the candidate is thinking about having a future with the organization. It also allows the interviewers to provide data regarding the company’s strategic plan and organizational initiatives, or growth and expansion.

Remember: You are interviewing the organization just as much as they are interviewing you! Good luck — practice, it makes perfect.