Interview Skills


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(By – Staff Writer)

Basic Interviewing Skills

Now that you are up to date on your resume skills and have posted it online and sent it to many hiring managers, you have earned yourself an interview. Now what? There are definitely do’s and don’ts of interviewing. You have gotten this far, now you need to take the next step and nail down the job through the interview.

You will be nervous and anxious before and perhaps during the interview, but do not let it show. You need to present a calm and confident demeanor to the interviewer whether it is a Human Resources personnel or the hiring manager. The more you prepare in advance the calmer and confident you will actually be.

Interview Skills and Preparation

Communication Skills and Listening Skills

How well you communicate is a major key to how successful your interview is. It is important that you know what you want in a job and why you want it. This is your chance to sell yourself to the interviewer.

  • Listen – most of us think we know how to listen but we really don’t. You have to train yourself to be a good listener. A good listener is not thinking about what they are going to say while you are talking. No instead they are really listening to you.
  • Talk when asked questions and don’t go on and on about things. Be concise and precise. Do not ramble. In order to accomplish this you will need to prepare in advance.
  • Stick to business as much as possible. If the interviewer asks about a personal item you can discuss it. Otherwise avoid talking about hobbies and personal activities.
  • Be professional in how you speak- the same rules that applied to the interview apply to the interview. Don’t use slang or make any references to race, religion, etc.­­­­­­
  • Answer the questions and don’t go off on tangents.


The key to how successful your interview is lies with your preparation. The better prepared you are the more relaxed you will be and you will be able to make a great impression on the hiring manager.

  • The first step in preparation is to know why you want the job and how it fits into your career goals. Make sure you have goals to share because you will be asked about them.
  • Research the company and know as much as possible about it before your go to the interview. What do they do? What is their financial status? What is the mission and core values of the company and how do they fit with yours?
  • If you can get it in advance, go over the job description in detail. Be able to answer and ask questions about it. Know how your experience and skills fit into the job description.
  • Prepare to be asked about your career goals, your interests, why you left a certain job etc.
  • Dress seriously. I cannot tell you how many people came to interview with me in jeans, shorts, or casual clothes of any kind. I never hired any of them.


You have heard it all your life. “You only get one chance to make a first impression.”  This is so true and the first impression you make in a job interview is critical. You have about 3-5 minutes to make that impression. Hiring managers usually make up their minds by instinct as much as substance.

  • Dressing well is part of your preparation but it is also the very first part of your first impression.
  • Eye contact is very important not just as a first impression, but throughout the entire interview.
  • A firm handshake is something we hiring managers laugh about, but you can bet we take it seriously. Practice it if you have to.
  • Address your interviewer formally unless they indicate you should use their first name. Be careful with women however and do not assume they are married or not. Ask how they would like to be addressed.
  • Remain standing until either your interviewer sits or they invite you to do so.
  • Be serious. Don’t be flip. Answer honestly but try to keep things positive.
  • Be prepared to ask questions about the job, the company, chances for advancement etc. When the interviewer reviews the job or job description with you, ask questions then.
  • Watch your language throughout the interview. No slang. No neighborhood vernacular. Try to get rid of the unnecessary “you know”, “no problem”, ‘uhm” or other phrase like these. Make every word count.
  • Don’t get distracted and look around. Stay focused.


Send a thank you after the interview, mentioning specifics from the interview and reinforcing your qualifications and desire for the job. You can send this by email or regular mail, but make sure you do it.