Body language takes care of itself when we are relaxed
But making yourself relaxed isn’t easy. Most people can overcome interview nerves by adopting some simple breathing and mindfulness techniques before and during the interview. One tip is to go into a quiet room and practice slow, deep breathing before you go in. When we are anxious, blood flows away from our brains, so this technique will bring the oxygen back to your head and help you to think clearly.
Pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses
Before you have the interview, you need to be self-aware about your skills and weaknesses. Really step inside the job description and the key words and phrases it contains to work out where you have more or less what they might. You need to think about what makes you stand out against other candidates. “Think about your unique selling points in relation to the role you are being interviewed for and communicate them clearly to the interview panel.
Archer adds that knowing your weaknesses is also a strength. When you get asked about your weaknesses, employers are really testing your self awareness. They want to hear what you think your development needs are. Best advice to clients for this is whatever weakness you choose to share, have a strategy to manage it.
So if you say, “I sometimes take on too much”, as a weakness then follow it up with an explanation of the way you manage that weakness. For example: “Now I have a detailed work plan so I can see how much spare capacity I have to take on extra work, and I’ve undertaken assertiveness training.”
Do a mock interview beforehand
It’s well-known that preparation is key for pulling off a strong interview, preparing your responses in writing in advance. Edit and then practice saying your stories out loud until the responses sound succinct and support your claims. Know by heart the stories you want to tell that demonstrate your accomplishments.
The running mock interviews with a willing friend or family member can also help you hone your technique. Once you’ve prepared your answers to common questions, rehearse them thoroughly. This will greatly help with nerves also, if you suffer from them.
Don’t give generic answers
The more specific and tangible examples you can provide that demonstrate that you have the experience needed, the better. Most people unfortunately give very generic answers that don’t make them stand out from others. A good way to stop yourself sounding generic is to provide as many specific examples as you can of how you’ve added value, of course making sure they’re relevant to the skills the interviewers are looking for.
A common mistake is to give basic answers. The internet is a great empowerer, but it also means that we all have access to pretty much the same information. The way to get ahead of the competition is to apply the knowledge you’ve learned to the wider industry you’re hoping to work in. Anyone can learn facts about a company but not everyone can give the facts some context by showing an opinion or argument that draws upon the information they’ve learned.