How To Communicate Effectively In An Interview

You are in a big job interview. You have the skill set to do well at this job. You know that you would be an awesome fit for the company. Just before you walk into the interview room you freeze and can’t think of a single thing to say…

It happens to all of us. Luckily, this article will break down exactly how you can avoid that and walk into an interview feeling confident. Being able to communicate effectively is a skill that a lot of us put on our resume but more than likely it’s a skill you never thought to upgrade or become better at. Learning communication will actually help you convey your message a lot easier, without sounding wordy or jumbled and then receive messages back with clarity.  

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In basic communication, there are three key components – a sender, a receiver, and a message. The person to initiate communication is the sender, also known as the source and they send information to the receiver who then, in turn, becomes the source and sends information back. Sometimes though, messages can be misinterpreted to mean something else, and the communication becomes weakened.

How do we fix those misinterpretations? How can we strengthen that communication? The answer is with your choice of vocabulary. You need to make appropriate word choices that clarify what you mean to say. For example, when someone mentions “pizza” there is no mistaking what they are talking about, in fact, you can picture it right now. But if someone says the word”liberty” it is a little harder to interpret. There is a broad, more vague understanding. Each person may have their own interpretation of what liberty means.

it’s important to talk as much as possible with plain pictured words. Especially in an interview where you need to be extremely clear on your intentions and expectations. For example, when asked a question about what you can do for the company, give an explanation that allows someone to really picture you doing that. A response like ” I will be a great fit here because my background is in HR” doesn’t give a clear picture. A better response might be “Using my HR background I can create an efficient screening method to ensure you get the best talent available.” Now the picture becomes clearer.

Practice in front of a mirror out loud or to someone that can give you feedback. Get good at talking confidently with your answers. The more you practice the more natural it becomes.

Now there is another part of communication that is often overlooked and that is the receiving end. People tend to be so focused on communicating what they need to say, that they miss what the other person is trying to convey back. In an interview setting it’s especially important to hear loud and clear what the interviewer is asking. Don’t be afraid to take a few seconds before replying so you can ensure you have heard the question correctly. It is normal to feel nervous (even the most confident people are) and it shows that you are calm and collected when you take a few seconds and come back with a killer reply.

Great communicators work at being great. Not everyone is born with these skills, and I would bet that some of the best communicators in history still practiced and built their skills throughout their careers.

Below are 6 traits of great communicators.

Become an Active Listener

Active listening means hearing what the other person is saying and mentally processing it so that you can respond effectively. Sometimes we spend so much time focusing on what we want to say next that we don’t truly hear what the other person is saying. Active listening can be achieved by repeating what they said in your head again or if you don’t understand ask the other person to explain it in a different way. They will appreciate that you want to really take in the message they are trying to send you. This way you can begin to communicate with absolute clarity.

Observe Who You Are Communicating with

If you are talking to a child, you communicate differently from if you were giving a presentation at work. So consider who the receiver is and adjust your method accordingly. A more professional manner in the interview and a more relaxed friendly manner to the child. Use the language of your audience. 

Find a Mutual Understanding 

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Finding common ground with the person or people you are communicating with is an excellent way to ease into harder topics. It creates a more relaxed environment. Just remember to keep the related topics relevant to who you are communicating with. In an interview, you could find common ground by connecting your skills to the job posting. “I understand you are looking for someone with a background in journalism. I recently did an internship at the local newspaper.” This can work perfectly when communicated clearly and at the right time. 

Use Facial Expressions 

Facial expressions will help the receiver understand the context of the message. If you communicate a funny story, it doesn’t make sense to the receiver if you frown the entire time. So make sure the facial expressions match the conversation topics. When in an interview and you’re talking about your work – smile! The interviewer will see that you are prideful in your work. Plus, people are drawn to those that have infectious smiles and attitudes. 

There is Absolutely Nothing Wrong With Silence 

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It is totally normal to have mini lulls in the conversation. Great communicators are comfortable in silence. It can mean someone is gathering their thoughts or just processing what you have communicated. Wait a bit before you continue again just in case you interrupt someone’s train of thought.

Know What You Are Talking About 

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The interview will not go over smoothly if you have no idea what the job entails or why they should hire you. It is best to do your research and make sure you can answer tough questions about the job. A good strategy is to memorize a few lines about yourself and how you can help the company. it’s best to have a well-rounded answer ready to communicate easily rather than scramble in the moment and sound jumbled.  

My hope is by the end of this article you’ve gathered a good understanding of the components of communication and how fine-tuning your skills will help you succeed in your next interview. Comment below on what you’ve learned then share this article with friends and family!

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