Communicating Confidently in an Interview

by Maureen McCowen of Soft Skill Success.

Congratulations!

You have crafted your compelling CV and have been called for interview. Now is the time to let your personality shine through and show that you are the right person for the job. But it can be hard to let your personality shine when you are feeling nervous. In this blog, Maureen McCowen from Soft Skill Success is going to share the 5 P’s of Communicating Confidently in an Interview that will ensure you create a great impression!

Prepare

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell

It is an obvious starting point, but preparation is crucial. Research the company in advance. Review your CV and the job spec. What type of questions do you expect to be asked? What key points from your experience do you want to highlight? What examples (stories) can you share that demonstrate your expertise?

Gather examples that are relevant to the competencies you want to highlight. This preparation will help boost your confidence during the interview.

Practice

Be familiar with what you want to say. Practice out loud.  Test saying answers in different ways. What sounds better?

Practice telling the example stories to highlight your competencies. Record them and listen back. Is the story relevant? Are you highlighting the correct elements? Have you the correct amount of detail?

You might find the STAR technique helpful here. It provides a clear structure that will keep you on track.

  • Begin by outlining the SITUATION– give the necessary background detail.
  • Describe the TASK– what was your role?
  • Explain the ACTION that was taken.
  • Highlight the RESULT.

Apply this technique to every example to avoid wandering off the point.

Powerpose

Amy Cuddy’s TED talk from 2012 has over 58m views. In it, she discusses how our body language can change not only other people’s perceptions of us, but also our own body chemistry. In the video, Amy shows examples of different powerposes that have been shown to increase testosterone levels and decrease the stress hormone, cortisol.  Take a couple of minutes in private before your interview to boost your confidence with a Wonderwoman pose- it works!

This is a good opportunity to focus on your breathing as well. Take deep breaths so that you feel your belly rising. Breathe out slowly. This is a great way to reduce nerves. It also enables you to speak in a stronger voice, which will help you sound more confident.

Posture

Non-verbal communication is very important.

Following on from the previous point, your posture will have an impact on how you communicate. If you are slouched in your seat, your energy levels are lower. Sitting upright, you are attentive, listening to questions and communicating a positive attitude. This is true for online interviews as well as in-person.

Eye-contact is important for effective communication. If you can look your interviewer in the eye, that shows confidence in your communication.

If it is an in-person interview, make good, regular eye-contact with your interviewer. If the interview is online, make eye-contact by looking into the camera, rather than at the screen. This can seem strange at first. We want to look at the person to whom we are speaking. However, you will appear much more confident if you look directly into your camera when speaking.

I found this difficult at first but found that when I drew a smiley face on a post-it note and put it over the camera, it helped me to remember!

Pause

A pause can be a very effective tool to help you communicate confidently.

Have you ever been asked a question, rushed headlong into an answer and then realised that you were off-track? You try to bring the topic around to the intended answer, but in the meantime your internal voice is berating you for rambling off-topic.

Instead, if you are asked a question that requires some thought, take a short pause. You might like to take a drink of water while you gather your thoughts. A pause followed by a well-structured answer is going to appear far more confident than diving into a rushed, rambling response.

If you are not sure what the question is, ask for clarity. Prepare how you will say this before the interview so that you can communicate it confidently.

Follow these tips to communicate confidently in your interview. Invest time in planning and preparing in advance. It will help you feel and appear more confident. Good luck!

We are in a whole new world at the moment. Virtual meetings, online presentations, connecting with each other on Zoom calls, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting- the list is endless! But regardless of platform, the need to deliver an effective message that connects with your audience is more important than ever. Maureen can help improve online presentation skills to communicate your ideas effectively and professionally. She is experienced in offering virtual classroom training and webinars, as well as face-to-face delivery. Her previous experience has taught her how to adapt to different learning styles and situations; how to be flexible in her approach; create engaging content; listen actively; facilitate active participation and assess learning – all skills that she uses in her training role. Maureen can be reached at www.softskillsuccess.ie,  and maureen@softskillsuccess.ie  or 087 2808734.