How to speak more comfortably during an interview

Ashley Wilson
Community Specialist
July 1, 2020
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Everyone hates those awkward first moments when you are sitting in an interview. Whether it’s a video call or in-person those few seconds of total silence is enough to make your palms sweat.

The key to forging a connection during an #interview is doing two things:

1 - Finding something in common with the interviewer

2 - Answering questions in a way that tells YOUR story

Ice breakers are a fantastic way to get the conversation rolling! You could begin by saying...

"It's a pleasure to meet you. How was your weekend and/or week been so far?"

This demonstrates to the interviewer that you're confident, proactive, caring, and friendly. Avoid talking about cliche things like the weather. Mention something interesting that you did that weekend after they discuss theirs. Be sure to listen attentively and respond!

"I read something really interesting yesterday."

Discuss it a little and if the interviewer seems interested continue, if not move on. Just be sure not to take over the conversation and allow the interviewer to engage as well!

"Have you been working on anything interesting lately?"

Interviewers will love the chance to reflect and respond to what it is they’ve worked on or are currently working on. This will also provide further insight into what they are doing now in the company as well as give them a chance to talk about their own accomplishments. And who doesn't want to do that?

Find something in common

Consider taking a quick glance at the interviewer's social accounts and discover some common interests. Perhaps he/she is really into bowling and you started your own league two years ago. Or perhaps they love dogs and you do too. Whatever the case, when they ask the inevitable "How are you?" you can reply casually mentioning your common interest(s). For example: "I am doing great thanks, just had a bowling tournament last week and we took third place!" OR "The weather has been great so I've been walking my black lab a lot. Do you have any pets?" This will allow you to forge that connection and make things more comfortable.

Interviews are also a fantastic time to share your traits with employers, but rather than say "I am a people person", "hard worker," etc. include those details in a story and provide examples to WOW them!

How can I do this?

Prepare 3 to 5 stories in advance by mapping out exactly what you want to share and what you want the employer to know about you. When you mention a trait back it up with a specific example and prove it. Remember not to ramble, keep it short and to the point!

Let’s take a look at some examples:

How you overcame a challenge

Every job certainly has things that challenge us, but by discussing how you faced and overcame them, employers will recognize that you are the type of person who gets the job done. They will acknowledge that you know how to utilize resources to the best of your advantage. So, tell them about a time when something stood in your way and how you were able to overcome it.

A time when you worked with a team

Remember your elementary school report card when you were graded on how you interacted with your classmates? Well, today, employers are looking for that same quality, that you work well with others. They need to know that you will fit in with the current team and work together to accomplish common goals. So tell them about a time you worked well with others. For example, maybe it was when your team finished a challenging project, or you all came together to help a customer. Just remember to really demonstrate how effectively you collaborate with fellow employees.

When you solved a problem

No company out there is perfect and has problems that need addressing. Rather than telling the employer, you are a “problem solver,” provide examples to back up how you solved specific issues. This will get their wheels turning about how you can solve THEIR problems and propel the company forward! Bonus points if you can match how you solved problems to the ones that the company is currently facing,

Remember when sharing a story, be specific and back it up with examples.

By preparing your story in advance, you will appear more confident and ready for anything!

What do you think is the toughest part about prepping for an interview?

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