Interview techniques and skills

Most interview “fails” are due to a lack of good preparation.

Everyone is nervous going into an interview, but if you can’t handle the pressure of the interview, it's likely that the interviewer will assume you can’t handle the job.

However an interview doesn’t have to be daunting. The key to success is job interview preparation - because preparation is what will give you confidence.

Here are some interview techniques and skills tips to help you prepare for that next upcoming job interview:

Five interview techniques and skills

1. Do your research

Do your homework. Find out everything you can about your prospective employer, including their product range or service, last year’s annual report and who you’d be working with. Don’t be overzealous, but being able to casually mention an achievement of your interviewer or a mutual acquaintance can make a big impression. (LinkedIn can be a great help here).

Have an understanding of the market in which your potential employer operates as well as who their competitors are. If the company is a publicly traded organisation, have an understanding of its share price and history.

2. Know your resume

It’s highly likely that you’re going to end up talking about your resume. Make sure you can discuss any claims you have made. Prepare concrete and detailed examples of challenges you’ve faced using the Context, Action, Result method (CAR): a situation in which you faced a challenge, the action you took and the subsequent outcome result.

Make a list of all of your strengths, skills and experience. Add in a few recollections of the times you’ve done something brilliant, like solving a difficult problem for a previous employer. Read over your references for moral support and call a parent or close friend who will tell you how much you deserve this role.

3. Know your weaknesses

If the job description doesn’t wholly match your qualifications and experience, make sure you can address those shortfalls. You can’t of course make things up, but you may have skills they haven’t listed in the job ad. Find a way to showcase your competencies to what your potential employer might need.

4. Practice

Encourage a friend or family member to ask you typical interview questions. This role-playing exercise is really useful. However, don’t craft easy questions or fixed answers as this exercise is about learning to get comfortable talking about you as a candidate for the job.

5. A good attitude

Be confident but don’t be cocky. It’s far easier to talk yourself out of a job than it is to talk yourself into one. Be positive, friendly and professional. Equally, don’t be shy. The interviewer wants to see you and, moreover, wants you to succeed. Be prepared to talk about the learning curves you’re looking forward to tackling.

First impressions count

In an interview situation, a potential employer is deciding whether they should hire you to join their organisation, so you need to be confident to convince that you’re worth it. Be conscious to demonstrate a positive body language, which often can speak on an equal level as words.

Job interviews are an important step in getting what you want out of your career so it’s normal to feel some pre-game jitters.

But with the right interview techniques and skills, you can leave the nerves behind and show your future employer that you're the right candidate for the job.

Want more interview tips and advice? Visit our job interview hub.